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Can Tiger recapture the magic of '08?

Tiger Woods hasn’t received a significant since that eye-popping efficiency at Torrey Pines in 2008.

However the former international No. 1 is again and hungry for luck at Shinnecock Hills on Lengthy Island this week.

Debate has raged over what will be the larger success — a 15th main for Woods after his lifestyles skirmishes and 4 again surgical procedures, or previous rival Phil Mickelson in any case touchdown a US Open after six runner-up spots to safe the profession grand slam.

The jury is out.

“You might be evaluating Cadillacs,” mentioned international No.2 Justin Thomas.

READ: Feisty enthusiasts and fiery path boost Shinnecock Hills US Open
Tiger Woods defied injury to win a remarkable 2008 US Open in a playoff with Rocco Mediate.Tiger Woods defied injury to win a remarkable 2008 US Open in a playoff with Rocco Mediate.
Woods’ thoughts is without a doubt prepared, and his 42-year-old frame has held up right through a promising go back to the sport this season.

Taking part in his first US Open since 2015, the thrill is again.

“He undoubtedly strikes the needle,” mentioned Australia’s former international No.1 Jason Day. “Everybody wish to see what he seems like, how huge he’s, the parable in the back of Tiger Woods.”

Day has transform shut buddies with the American, and he ribbed his pal in textual content messages about his outfit the final time the USA Open used to be held at Shinnecock Hills in 2004.

“I despatched him an image. He had MC Hammer pants on. I am like, ‘howdy guy, take a look at those pants, they are horrible,'” mentioned Day, who, like numerous execs, is holing up in his RV close to the path to keep away from the infamous Lengthy Island site visitors.

Woods, who’s staying on his luxurious $20 million yacht Privateness in Sag Harbor, did not chunk.

However in step with Day, his same old banter suggests his aggressive mojo is again after some darkish instances right through his quite a lot of damage layoffs.
Jason Day teased Tiger Woods about his 2004 US Open outfit.Jason Day teased Tiger Woods about his 2004 US Open outfit.
Tiger Woods (left) will play with world No.1 Dustin Johnson in the first two rounds of the US Open.Tiger Woods (left) will play with world No.1 Dustin Johnson in the first two rounds of the US Open.
Mickelson must even be within the twilight of his profession — he turns 48 Saturday — however he’s going to be roared on by means of an adoring New York crowd who willed him to 2d in the back of South African Retief Goosen on a tumultuous and debatable ultimate day in 2004.

A primary win for 5 years previous this season suggests the mercurial left-hander nonetheless has the firepower to compete on the most sensible stage. And at the present time, it is all directed at the USA Open as he bids to transform most effective the 5th participant to win every of golfing’s 4 majors after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Participant, Jack Nicklaus and Woods.

“It will imply an terrible lot,” mentioned Mickelson, enjoying in his 27th US Open after lacking final yr’s tournament to wait his daughter’s commencement.

“I believe like in the event you win all 4 you are a entire participant. The 5 guys who’ve executed it are the 5 highest to have ever performed the sport. I wish to be the 6th.”

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Phil Mickelson is bidding to win the career grand slam at Shinnecock Hills. Phil Mickelson is bidding to win the career grand slam at Shinnecock Hills.

However whilst the 2 40-somethings make for a neat narrative, the tale could have moved on.

The favourite for the 118th US Open is the big-hitting Dustin Johnson, reinstated as international No.1 after sealing Sunday’s St Jude Vintage with a walk-off eagle.

The 2016 champion will play along Woods and Thomas within the first two rounds Thursday and Friday.

READ: The assembly with Tiger Woods “I’m going to by no means fail to remember”
Thomas, 25, received his leap forward main in the USA PGA final August and is without doubt one of the sport’s most fun younger skills, in conjunction with youth pal Jordan Spieth, the 2015 winner and three-time main champion.

Spieth has struggled of overdue, significantly along with his normally red-hot putter, however the Texan has come the conclusion it is a “lengthy profession and effects are not going to return by means of short of them to return.”

He’ll start his marketing campaign along Mickelson and Northern Eire’s Rory McIlroy, who remains to be chasing a 5th main and primary since 2014.

McIlroy used to be stung on the Masters as he didn’t problem eventual winner Patrick Reed at the ultimate day, however the 2011 US Open champion has been taking part in his time on Lengthy Island, enjoying unique within reach lessons such because the Nationwide and Friar’s Head.

And as probably the most sport’s big-hitters, he has been licking his lips in observe on the beneficiant fairways on be offering at Shinnecock Hills.

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In 2004, solar and a drying wind made the ancient, links-like Shinnecock Hills path devilishly tricky, with some vegetables desiring watering between teams and gamers aiming for the bunkers off the tee at the brief 7th for the reason that hanging floor used to be too slick to carry complete pictures.

Mickelson, alternatively, is excited the US Golfing Affiliation has discovered its lesson for this yr.

“That is one in every of my favourite lessons,” he mentioned. “It is the most productive arrange that we’ve got noticed. I believe as regardless that success has been taken out up to conceivable to the place talent is the main component.”

‘Desires occur’

The United States Open claims to be essentially the most “open” main of golfing’s 4 huge occasions, with a box of 156, whittled down from about nine,000 hopefuls — together with amateurs, jobbing membership execs and journeymen traveling execs — around the globe.

“If you have got the sport, if you have got the facility, the USA Open empowers you to pursue your dream,” mentioned Jeff Corridor, the USGA’s managing director of laws and Open championships.

All of the qualifiers have tales to inform. How about this one from Canadian Garret Rank, a 30-year-old whose day process is as an NHL referee? The completed newbie golfer, who simply completed operating on the Stanley Cup playoffs, got here via sectional qualifying in Georgia final week. He additionally beat testicular most cancers in 2011.

“I have were given an actual process, so I might imagine this like the top of my golfing profession this week,” mentioned Rank, who’s one in every of 20 amateurs within the box. “I am gonna move in the market and feature some inside expectancies on how I wish to play and what I wish to do however on the finish of the day, that is only a party for me and my friends and family.”

Final yr American Xander Schauffele entered the USA Open at Erin Hills ranked 378th on this planet. He tied for 5th, and ended the season as PGA Excursion Rookie of the 12 months.

Discuss with CNN.com/golfing for extra information, options and movies

“Desires occur. They begin at the USA Open,” added Corridor.

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