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Golf: Tiger says game is progressing for US Open

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By The Staff

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The one shot that got so much attention during practice 10 years ago at Pebble Beach was a 4-iron that Tiger Woods hit so high, so straight, so flush that it landed softly near the pin on a brick-hard green at the par-3 12th.

That wasn't the case Tuesday at the U.S. Open.

There is not much about Woods that looks the same as it once did.

"Tiger!" he muttered to himself as his 4-iron sailed weakly to the left of the 12th green, closer to the gallery than the pin.

On another chilly and overcast morning on the Monterey Peninsula, Woods hit two drives on the 13th — one left into a bunker, the other in the fairway — for his final shots of the day. His caddie retrieved the balls and followed Woods through an opening in the fence, into a van and back to the driving range. The course was too crowded, the practice round taking too long.

Nothing is comparable, in so many ways, to the last U.S. Open he played at Pebble Beach.

Ten years ago, Woods arrived at Pebble having won 12 times in the previous nine months. This year, he has finished only 13 rounds in the previous seven months. He was the overwhelming favorite in 2000, as he was at just about every tournament. This year, British bookmaker Williams Hill lists him as co-favorite with Masters champion Phil Mickelson at 8-1.


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