Tiger Woods, too, knew he had teed a solid drive off of the ninth hole at Chambers Bay golf course.
Less than a month away from the U.S. Open, Woods stopped by the University Place course for a practice round. The crowd of onlookers standing among various media outlets near the Chambers Bay restaurant got their best view of the 14-time major championship winner — braving intermittent rain in true Northwest fashion — from the tee box at the ninth hole.
Staring straight at the Puget Sound with Fox Island to his right, Woods’ shot from the ninth tee Monday was a beauty. It sailed over some waste bunkers and landed about 10 feet away from the cup.
The crowd cheered and clapped. Woods raised his right arm and acknowledged them with a thumbs up before heading toward the green.
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Woods arrived at the course in a dark SUV early Monday and took about 31/2 hours to play nine holes alongside caddie Joe LaCava and swing coach Chris Como among a couple others. Woods took a lunch break around noon before finishing the back nine holes.
Woods’ SUV took a back way out of Chambers Bay and he did not stop to speak to reporters. He has a press conference scheduled for Wednesday at the Memorial at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Woods is the second superstar golfer to visit Chambers Bay in the past week. Phil Mickelson played Thursday on the course that will host the U.S. Open from June 18-21.
A group of six mostly University Place mothers met for breakfast and sat at the course restaurant’s covered outdoor patio. They didn’t know it would come with the Tiger show and the media frenzy.
“We decided this was better than the U.S. Open,” said Renae Cooper of University Place.
Craig and Rose Nutter’s parents were visiting from Arizona. So they wanted to show them the course and ensure they could get some U.S. Open merchandise before heading back.
They didn’t know they’d get to see Woods’ tee off at the 10th hole until seeing the TV cameras.
“It’s very cool,” Craig Nutter said. “It’s giving me chills, man.”
Woods has fallen to the 172nd-ranked golfer in the world and his last major victory came at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California. He could pull to within three major championships of Jack Nicklaus — who has won more than anybody in the history of golf with 18 — if Woods can win this upcoming one at Chambers Bay.