Tiger Woods has the talent to win the US Open on one leg and smash Phil Mickelson’s hopes of a dream victory in his own back yard.
That’s the view of 2003 champion Jim Furyk, who’s still hoping that the field has a better chance of outlasting Woods and Mickelson on a Torrey Pines course where they have racked up an amazing nine Buick Invitational victories between them.
Hawk-faced Furyk does not want to believe that Woods and come out in the toughest of all the majors after an eight weeks lay-off for knee surgery and blitz the best players in golf.
But he is also one of the shrewdest men on tour and he knows that if anyone can do it, it’s golf’s “Special One”.
Furyk said: “I think it's difficult to take the amount of time he's had off, come to a US Open and expect to go out there and dominate a golf tournament as he's dominated golf.
“That being said, anything he does anymore doesn't surprise anyone, so I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. Last time he had surgery on his knee and took a whole bunch of time off, I remember him coming to San Diego and whipping the field. So I wouldn't be surprised if it happened again.
“He loves the golf course. He's played well here. He's dominated at times. It's hard just to take a lot of time off and be sharp. If anyone can do it he can, because he doesn't play a heck of a lot of events, he can play 15 events and be sharp every time he tees it up.”
While he hasn’t walked 18 holes for eight week, Woods says he’s ready to go in today's stellar threeball with World No 2 Mickelson and No 3 Adam Scott.
“It’s not anything that I haven’t dealt with before,” Woods said. “I plan on playing competitive. Come game time on Thursday, I’ll be ready.”
American amateur Jordan Cox played nine holes with Woods on Monday and confirmed that he sees nothing wrong with the man who has already got 13 Major titles and two US Opens to his name.
The 20-year-old Stanford student said: “There’s nothing wrong with his knee any more. He’s fully recovered. He got out here early. He’s been playing all week, so he looks on top of his game.”
Even Mickelson fears that Tiger will pull off one of his trademark Major championship recitals.
“I just don't see how it's going to have a negative effect on him,” Mickelson said. “And I just can't see a better player make adjustments easier than Tiger. I just don't think it will be a problem.”
With four second places finishes in 17 US Open appearances, Phil the Thrill is praying that his love of the event will be returned some day.
“I love it,” he said this week. “I just haven't gotten the love back.”