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Tiger Woods gets a special discount at the US Open at Pinehurst. What are his odds?


Tiger Woods received a special exemption for the US Open at Pinehurst No. 2, the first time the three-time champion needed an exemption to play.

Woods has been exempted for every US Open since he first played as US Amateur champion in 1995. His five-year absence from winning the 2019 Masters ended last year.

The exemption was expected and could be the first of many. The USGA is exempt from qualifying specifically, with the last prize awarded to Phil Mickelson in 2021.

Jack Nicklaus, with four U.S. Open titles among his 18 professional majors, won a record eight majors, including five in a row, before ceasing U.S. Open play after 2000 at Pebble Beach.

Arnold Palmer had five US Open exemptions, the last in 1994 when he returned to his hometown of Oakmont for a tearful farewell.

Woods won the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach by 15 shots, a record margin for any major champion. He added another title at Bethpage Black in New York in 2002, and he won his third US Open at Torrey Pines in 2008, just one week before reconstructive surgery on his left knee.

“The US Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our sport and has helped define my career,” Woods said in a statement. “I'm honored to receive this concession and couldn't be more excited for the opportunity to compete at this year's US Open, especially at Pinehurst, a venue that has so much to play for.”

Woods' chances of winning a fourth US Open are slim. He has +10000 odds to win the tournament at DraftKings Sportsbook, making him a long-shot bet.

The US Open is June 13-16 at Pinehurst No. 2, which is staging the Open for the fourth time. Woods tied for third in 1999, two shots behind the late Payne Stewart. He was runner-up to Michael Campbell at Pinehurst in 2005. He missed the most recent Open at Pinehurst in 2014 while recovering from the first of four back surgeries.

Woods has a long history with the USGA as the only player to win the US Junior Amateur three times in a row, followed by the US Amateur three times. His nine USGA championships are matched only by amateur great Bobby Jones.

Earlier this year Woods was selected to receive the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor from the USGA.

“The story of the US Open cannot be written without Tiger Woods,” said USGA Chief Championship Officer John Bodenhamer. “From his 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 to his inspirational victory on a broken leg at Torrey Pines in 2008, this championship is better when Tiger is on the field, and his accomplishments in the game undoubtedly made this an easy decision for our special concessions committee.”

Woods will compete in the US Open for the first time since Winged Foot in 2020, held in September before there were no fans due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He crashed his car in Los Angeles and badly injured his right leg and ankle in February 2021, causing him to miss his return to the US Open at Torrey Pines. When he returned to competition a year later, the only major he did not play was the 2022 US Open at Brookline. A year earlier, Woods had surgery to fuse his right ankle after the Masters and missed the rest of the year, missing his US Open debut at Los Angeles Country Club.

Woods last competed in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where he shot a third-round 66 but then closed with a 75 and tied for fourth.

He is expected to play in the PGA Championship in two weeks at Valhalla, where he won in 2000 en route to capturing four consecutive majors. Woods said earlier this week during a round of appearances on the NBC show to promote his clothing line that his plan was to play the remaining three majors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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