Saturday, June 20, 2009

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Tiger Woods was the epitome of concentration in the practice area Saturday morning. Under blues skies and sunshine, but with rain closing in from the West, Woods arrived at Bethpage shortly after 8 this morning and made his way to the practice green. He started by hitting 5-footers using only his left hand, then just his right.Woods pulled two white tees from his right pocket and placed them about a nanometer from the edges of his putter, then started hitting 5-footers as he swung between the tees. Steve Williams, Tiger's caddie, went inside as Woods hit a series of long putts, ignoring the shouts from his fans.When Williams returned with a pin-location sheet, they went to the driving range, where Woods received a standing ovation. He tipped his cap and immediately returned his focus to his game. When a European TV reporter started to wander a little too close as Tiger hit wedge shots, Steve Williams whispered in a marshall's ear. A security guard told the reporter that he needed to step back. Woods never looked up.Working his way from wedges to irons to fairway woods to driver, Tiger occasionally glanced at the pin location sheet. He shaped shots here and there, knowing he'd need them later to fit specific holes and pin locations.The only people who dared to interrupt Woods before he hit a few bunker shots and left the range were Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk, both of whom are FOT (Friends of Tiger). He smiled and laughed with both players. It was clear, however, that Tiger was in a tough spot. He was not likely to play the course in such favorable conditions. If he wants to be a factor, he needs Saturday to be special.Follow David Dusek on Twitter

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