US Open 2024: Tiger Woods says speed of Pinehurst greens will lead to ‘war of attrition’

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The green surrounds are also provoking much debate between players as to whether they negotiate the steep run-offs with putters, wedges, irons or even fairway woods.

Rory McIlroy thinks the variety of shots players will have to conjure up will make “viewing more exciting” for the fans “rather than seeing guys hack out of four-inch rough all the time”, as happens on the PGA Tour.

Speaking on Tuesday, the 2011 champion from Northern Ireland said he had “36 hours” to “figure out what I’m comfortable with around the greens”.

It is a view shared by world number one Scottie Scheffler, who said he “appreciates more having the playability of the run-off areas more than heavy rough surrounding every green”.

“It provides a little bit more variety, a little bit more excitement and a little bit more creativity around the greens,” said the two-time major winner.

“It’s a better test than just having heavy rough over the back of every green.”

Woods says he has ruled out using woods, while 2020 champion Bryson DeChambeau is favouring his wedges, “hitting into the slope and bouncing it up and rolling it over the top of hills” unless he gets a bad lie, in which case he is putting.

Norway’s rising star Viktor Hovland says he is leaning more towards the putter.

“If you take an average of 20 shots, the putter is going to be way better than the chip,” he said. “Maybe it will be somewhere close to 60-40 with putter.”

Xander Schauffele, who won his first major at last month’s US PGA Championship, says he “typically defaults to putting”.

“The Texas wedge is definitely my friend,” he said. “I’ve never hit so many putts. I joked with my caddie I should get it checked out. I’ve never swung so hard on my putter for nine holes, just trying to get up and down mounds.”

However, Kaymer, who famously putted superbly from on and off the green on his way to victory a decade ago, says his approach this week “might be a little bit different”.

“I might be using the rescue a little bit more often or the hybrid around the greens because of the length of the grass,” he said.

“It’s a little bit higher, a little bit thicker, so it’s not as tight as it used to be.”

And that is coming from the only man to reach double digits under par in a US Open at Pinehurst Number Two.

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