Tiger Woods unfit to play U.S. Open, says Suzann Pettersen

Tom Pennington

Notorious tightwad Tiger Woods offers Suzann Pettersen tips on playing Pinehurst No. 2, site of next month’s men’s and women’s U.S. Opens.

Tiger Woods may be a lousy tipper when it comes to shelling out cash for services rendered, but the $1.3 billion man was a tad more generous with advice to fellow spinally challenged golfer Suzann Pettersen on how to play Pinehurst No. 2. The fourth-ranked golfer on the women’s side, however, was as stingy with what she gleaned from Woods as he apparently is with a buck.

The North Carolina track will host the men and women in back-to-back U.S. Opens next month and Pettersen, who has returned to the course after a stint on the DL with a bad back while Woods remains sidelined after surgery in March, is scarfing up Pinehurst intel from anyone and everyone, including the 14-time major winner.

"He [said he] knew the course really well but it will have changed a lot since the last time he was there last," Pettersen told reporters on Tuesday, ahead of the LPGA’s Kingsmill Championship.

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have redesigned the 107-year-old venue since Woods was second to Michael Campbell in the 2005 U.S. Open. Tiger, who quipped last year that he expected to do well on the iconic Donald Ross track, also owns a third-place finish in the 1999 Open staged at Pinehurst.

The men -- sans Woods, according to Team Tiger insider Notah Begay and Pettersen -- will play their second major of the season starting on June 12. Fourth-ranked Pettersen, a resurgent Michelle WieKraft Nabisco winner Lexi Thompson and the rest of the star-studded women’s field will tee it up a week later.

A bad back forced Pettersen to miss the year’s first grand slam event but she finished in a tie for sixth at the North Texas Shootout earlier this month. She was set to play the first two rounds of this week’s tourney in Williamsburg, Va., with two former No. 1s -- Stacy Lewis and Yani Tseng.

As for her chat with Woods, the two-time major titleholder did not state definitively that the men’s current No. 1 would be a no-go next month but it certainly sounded as if she concurred with Begay’s assessment. After spine surgery on March 31, Woods said on his website that his rehab was going slowly, he was unsure when he would return to the tour, and he was able to chip and putt.

"I'm just going to tell you that I'm in a much better state than he is right now. I think that he's already jealous that I'm hitting golf balls. -Pettersen on Tiger

"I'm just going to tell you that I'm in a much better state than he is right now.  I think that he's already jealous that I'm hitting golf balls," said Pettersen. "I don’t think he’s going to play in the U.S Open. I don’t think he’s even hitting golf balls at this point."

About Tiger and the whole tipping to-do, Rick Reilly wrote earlier this month that the 79-time tour winner was renowned "from Maine to Muscle Beach as being cheaper than generic toilet paper."

Noting that reigning Masters champ Bubba Watson offers tips "bigger than a Bubba drive" and struggling five-time majors winner Phil Mickelson "tips like he has no heirs," Reilly concluded that Woods’ character was lacking due to his reluctance to part with his George Washingtons let alone the Benjamins that Bubba and Lefty pass out like candy. It was a rep, Reilly observed, that earned Woods the top ranking as the Miami New Times’ "worst celebrity tipper."

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