Altvater: Tiger Woods could add to history at Merion Golf ClubWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Tiger Woods always seems to have the feel for the dramatic and his place in the history of golf. He wants to add his name to the storied history of Merion Golf Club this week.
Bobby Jones made his first national tournament appearance at Merion in the 1916 U.S. Amateur. He won the 1924 U.S. Amateur there and completed his “Grand Slam” in 1930 at Merion.
Ben Hogan won the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion just 16 months after his horrific car accident. He also struck his iconic one-iron on the 72nd hole that is immortalized on every golfaholic’s wall.
Lee Trevino beat Jack Nicklaus in 1971 in a Monday playoff and David Graham played a nearly perfect round, missing only one fairway in the final round to win the 1981 U.S. Open at Merion.
Tiger Woods has three U.S. Open trophies, the last coming in 2008. It was the last major title he has won. He has been stuck on 14 major victories and needs five more to surpass the Jack Nicklaus record of 18 career major titles.
Woods has won four events in 2013 and nearly $6 million. He has regained his No. 1 ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking and is No. 1 on the FedEx Cup. He is 37 years old and the time to win more majors is now.
The odds makers have made Woods a huge favorite this week. He is rated as a 6/1 favorite to win at Merion. The best odds for any other player is 20/1.
Woods has shown in the past that he can play shorter quirky golf courses with his win at Royal Liverpool in the 2006 Open Championship and his win this year at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
He has one of the best short games in the business today. Merion will put a premium on a deft touch from 150 yards in and around the greens. His short game, not his booming drives, could be the piece that earns him his 15th major win and gets him back on track to catch Jack Nicklaus.
Wouldn’t it be fitting for Woods to join Jones, Hogan and Nicklaus as the only four-time winners of the U.S. Open at historic Merion Golf Club?