Jim Furyk has exclusively told CNN that he fears a Tiger Woods backlash at the upcoming U.S. Open at Bethpage Black which starts on Thursday.
Woods, the current world number one and reigning U.S. Open champion, is recovering his form after having eight months on the sidelines after an operation to rectify an injured knee. Woods’s game has been under great scrutiny from the press since his return, however, Furyk – who recently finished second to the 33-year-old at The Memorial Tournament in Ohio – fears such pressure only acts to motivate the world’s best player. Watch Jim’s interview with CNN . “Tiger played a wonderful round shooting 65 at the weekend despite the fact there were not many low scores. “I think he’s proved to everybody that he’s back but the media were questioning him still. I said to the press after my round that I wish they would just lay off of him because he just comes back and beats all the other players’ brains in when he’s wound up,” Furyk said. Furyk, who won the U.S. Open in 2003 at Olympia Fields, had a torrid time at Bethpage Black last time the major event came from the venue.
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“My memories aren’t that good from last time here but I’m hoping things will be better this time around. “They’ve added some length to the holes and changed a few bunkers but it is the same golf course – very difficult and plays very long. “The set up of the U.S. Open is different to the other majors. It’s played on old, traditional, golf courses built in the 1900s. The fairways are narrow, the rough is long and there are some exciting pin placements.”
Ahead of the 2009 edition, despite the course being lengthened Furyk remained optimistic: “The last time at Bethpage I didn’t hit a lot of fairways so I’m going to have to do that this time around, but when I’m playing well, that’s a strength of mine. “I’m going to have a lot of long irons on my hands so I’m going to have to be crisp and grind it out. But as with any U.S. Open I’m going to need a good attitude for the entire weekend,” he added.