Eager to get to Pinehurst for the U.S. Women’s Open next month, Suzann Pettersen recently traded notes on the No. 2 Course with a golfing friend – Tiger Woods.
Like Woods, Pettersen has dealt with a back injury this year. Pettersen, fourth in the world in the women’s rankings, has been able to return and compete on the LPGA Tour while Woods might not be able to play in the U.S. Open, set the week before the U.S. Women’s Open at No. 2.
Woods, who had back surgery March 31 and missed the Masters, has yet to declare himself out of the Open and has written on his website that he will return “sometime this summer.” Pettersen didn’t want to be the one to say Woods, ranked No. 1 in the world, wouldn’t be at Pinehurst.
“But I don’t think he’s going to play in the U.S Open,” she said Tuesday. “I don’t think he’s even hitting golf balls at this point.”
Woods, on a May 5 blog posted on his website, said his rehab was going well but called it a very slow process, although he did say he has done some chipping and putting. He noted the U.S. Open was six weeks away, adding, “You can understand why I want to hurry up and get better.”
Pettersen said Woods could offer good advice about playing the No. 2 course, but only to a certain extent.
“He said he knew the course really well but it had changed a lot since the last time he was there,” she said.
Woods was third in the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst and the runner-up to Michael Campbell in the 2005 Open. The Donald Ross course has since been redesigned by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, with more natural areas added.
Pettersen, 33, has two major championships among her 14 career wins – the 2007 LPGA Championship and the 2013 Evian Championship. She’s 28th on the LPGA money list this year with a little more than $151,000.
Pettersen’s back issues forced her to miss the year’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco won by Lexi Thompson. Pettersen, a native of Norway, is competing this week in the Kingsmill Championship on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort.