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Woods has an uphill task

From the mid-Nineties until now, Rolex Testimonee Tiger Woods continues to hold a spell over golf fans around the world.

ROLEX Testimonee Tiger Woods has been credited with causing the explosion in golf's popularity and prize money.

And from the mid-Nineties until now, he continues to hold a spell over golf fans around the world not just because of the impact he had made on the sport but also his aura of authority.

Even his longtime American rival and fellow Testimonee Phil Mickelson acknowledged that recently with a tweet that praised Woods for what he had done for the sport, adding "no one has benefited more than me from that".

But, going by recent form (coupled with the series of injuries he had suffered) he cannot be considered a favourite for the US Open at Winged Foot from Sept 17 to 20.

However, a sentimental favourite, he will be. Every time he enters a competition he raises the ante. Every time he does well, he creates a buzz all over the world. And when he wins, as he did in last year's US Masters, the global fans go berserk in celebration.

The 44-year-old finished 65th in the FedEx Cup standings and failed to qualify for last week's Tour Championship.

American professional Daniel Chopra said: "However, he knows how to play the hardest courses and I would never rule him out, especially if he gets a sniff of the lead.

"He is driving the ball really well and has shown great discipline with his approaches to the green, he is just not making the putts."

Fellow professional Anthony Kang said: "Tiger's play has been like a Lego set, all the pieces are there, he just has to put them together. He has shown brilliance in each of the four aspects of the game (off the tee, into the green, around the green, and on the green) but he has yet to combine them all together."

Woods takes on the 7,477-yard (par 70) West Course at Winged Foot with six previous competition rounds at the venue and a scoring average of 73.

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