Off The Fairway – Tiger Woods Golf Cards – Golf’s U.S. Open is getting ready to start, and the biggest name in the tournament is Tiger Woods, who won this tournament in 2000, 2002, and 2008. This year the tournament is at Winged Foot Golf Club in Westchester County, and while Woods loves playing in the area, he recognizes that this year will be much different with no population following the golfers through the course.

“I think this area has some of the best golf courses on the planet,” Woods stated. “What makes these events are the fans and the energy this entire area brings. They love sports. It’s a shame we’re not going to have that atmosphere out here this particular week but obviously, the area will be watching and supporting at home wherever is the safest. It’s not the same without the fan experience.

“Unfortunately, this is our new reality,” he said in a somber tone. “It takes some getting used to. It’s not something we like. We want fans. We want the atmosphere out there. Safety first.”

Staying healthy is Woods’ first priority. He’s the biggest name in the sport but also 44. After numerous surgeries, it takes a lot of preparation for him to get out there and compete.

Health comes first. Whether or not I feel physically good enough that I can put in a practice. That’s my unfortunate reality,” he revealed. “I’ve had four back surgeries so I’m trying to be healthy enough so I can practice, and I spend the time that I need to. I have to train to practice.”

Mental preparation is a key to Woods’ success, and he made sure to walk the course beforehand.

I was able to come up here before I played in Boston and take a look at the sightlines. This course is going to be one of the more difficult ones. The scores here have never been traditionally low. I don’t see that changing this week,” Woods stated. “It’s going to be hard.”

Woods is tied with Sam Snead with 82 PGA title wins for the career record. He also has 15 majors and is chasing Jack Nicklaus who has 18. He loves golf and still believes he has more to give.

“It gets hard to win. We all age. When you’re in your prime, your peak years, you have to take advantage of those opportunities so when you get to the all-time marks you have the opportunity,” said Woods. “I think whether it’s Rafa (Nadal) or Fed (Roger Federer) or Serena (Williams), they’ve been so consistent and dominant for such a long period of time, that’s how you can have the all-time marks. Consistency over a long period of time is the hallmark of all those records.”

Tiger is one of the most collected athletes in the world and number one in golf. Nothing will change that. Adding to his list of wins and majors would only increase his value over the others who chase him in the hobby.

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Russ Cohen

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