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Tiger Woods' 2000 US Open win was stunning, but Pebble Beach is always tough puzzle to solve

Tod Leonard, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Golf

Throw in that Woods has only played a total of nine tournaments at Pebble as a pro, and that the 43-year-old's sharpness is in question after just eight starts this season, and the prospects get as foggy as a summer day in Carmel.

None of that seems to have dampened the enthusiasm of the man who won his fifth Masters in April.

"There's nothing like playing a U.S. Open setup here at Pebble Beach," Woods said Tuesday. "The golf course is not overly long. It's not big in that regard, but man, it's tricky. The greens are all slanted, very small targets. And if they ever firm up, then we have a totally different ballgame."

Calling Tuesday a "rest day," Woods chose not to play a practice round. He toured the layout Wednesday with a full round.

"It's more important for me to feel energized than it is to go out there and get wear and tear," he said.

Since missing the cut at the PGA Championship last month, Woods has revealed he was battling an undisclosed illness at Bethpage. "I was in rough shape," he said Tuesday.

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Unlike before the PGA, he did get in a tournament start before the Open, and tied for ninth in the Memorial two weeks ago.

From the sound of it, Woods believes he and the field will experience a test at Pebble that is not very much different from the '00 Open he won at 12 under, becoming the first champion to finish the tournament double digits under par.

Deeming Pebble's fairways "plenty wide," Woods said, "We're all going to be playing from virtually the same spots, and especially if it dries out. The longer guys will be hitting a shorter club (off the tee), and the shorter guys will be able to sneak driver down there.

"How you put the ball in the correct position is key. ... We don't have greens like this -- this small and steep. So it puts a premium on iron play."

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