As 14-time major champion Tiger Woods was set to leave the underground press area at Muirfield Village Golf Club, a reporter blurted out one final question.
Did you like Chambers Bay?
He had spent so much time analyzing its intricate features the past few days, he seemed never to consider that part of it.
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An uncomfortable Tiger grin came forth.
“Do I like it?” he said, stalling for more time.
He bypassed a birdie-putt response, but never got in trouble making bogey, either.
So he opted for par — putting his answer on the shoulders of USGA Executive Director Mike Davis.
“Depends on how it is set up,” he said.
The king of golf did offer some interesting insight about the University Place links-style layout, which will host the 115th U.S. Open championship starting June 18.
The word that kept cropping up: options.
So many options.
“It is very challenging in the sense that Mike has so many options he can present us — challenges off the tee or into the greens,” Woods said. “There are so many different (yardage) numbers that you have to know — off the tees and how it is going to play.
Not much for extended, in-depth practice rounds, Woods said he felt he had to give Chambers Bay an honest look. It took him 31/2 hours just to gather all the necessary data Monday on the front nine holes.
Later that afternoon, he spent the same amount of time on the back nine.
Woods and his team returned Tuesday for another round, just not as long because he said he had better familiarity with what he was in for.
So many golfers have reacted adversely to Davis’ earlier comments that stated if golfers only spend time casually studying Chambers Bay the week of the U.S. Open, they have no chance to win.
Woods responded to Davis’ message.
“When Mike says something like that, you’ve got to pay attention to it. He is an extremely bright man,” Woods said. “We got out there, and it was like, ‘Oh my god, there are so many different options here you have to know!’ ”
Because it is links by nature, will the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay play like a British Open?
“It is a different type of golf course. We don’t even see this in British Opens because they are not banked like this,” Woods said. “Yeah, I understand you can run the ball up on every hole, or (have) the opportunity to be able to run it up.
“Some of the holes you can’t because they’re just too long, or they’re too steep and you’re firing up the hill so much.”
As far as coming out of any of the bunkers, Woods said the sand had different densities to it.
“Some balls bounced out of there. Some dug,” Woods said. “All the bunkers around the green, we were able to spin it.”
One thing for sure, Woods said: This national open will be far different from any other he has played.
“Generally you look at old-school U.S. Opens, right? It is back to the tee box, narrow fairways, high rough, miss it, hack out — and try and make a par from the fairway,” Woods said.
“Here at Chambers, there are so many different landing areas, angles and aggressive or passive (sight and shot) lines — run the ball up 40 feet, 50 feet, sometimes even 30 yards right of the green, or left of the green, and it comes back down to 10 feet” from the hole.