But it was at Torrey Pines.
Could he have won the U.S. Open in that kind of physical shape had it been played anywhere else?
"Yeah," he said.
But did it help that it was Torrey Pines?
"Yeah, definitely. Probably those three courses I just mentioned," he said, referring to Torrey, Firestone and Augusta.
Woods won a Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines as a teenager. He first came to the course with his father for the Andy Williams Invitational, spending most of his time watching the California players — Mark O'Meara, John Cook, Corey Pavin. He recalled seeing Andy Bean reach the par-5 18th in two shots.
It's different now. The world watches him. That much was evident when he finished the 18th hole of a practice round on a cool, quiet morning. The golf course, which had been so quiet, came to life with a few hundred rushing over to a walkway with hopes of an autograph, and the pounding of steps heard on a bridge as two dozen photographers trampled behind him.
McIlroy is taking the next month off. The field at Torrey Pines includes Dustin Johnson, Masters champion Bubba Watson, defending champion Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson. But it's still Torrey Pines. This is where a healthy and happy Woods is usually at his best.
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