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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Updated: August 1, 10:37 AM ET
Tiger critical of Oak Hill greens

By Bob Harig
ESPN.com

AKRON, Ohio -- Tiger Woods got a look at the site of next week's PGA Championship and didn't like what he saw on the greens.

Woods, who met with reporters Wednesday in advance of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, played a practice round on Tuesday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., where the year's fourth major championship will be played next week.

Without prompting, Woods brought up the condition of the greens when asked a general question about the course.

"The greens are spotty, and it'll be interesting to see what they do because they were running just under 9 on the Stimp [Stimpmeter]," Woods said. "They don't have much thatch to them, so it'll be interesting to see what they do for the tournament and how much they're able to speed them up with kind of a lack of grass."

A Stimpmeter is a device used to measure the speed of greens, and for major championships, they typically run in the 12 to 13 range. For Woods to say they are at 9 means the green speeds are slow, something with which he traditionally struggles.

"That was kind of our game plan going into advance week, have them slow," Oak Hill course superintendent Jeff Corcoran Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. "We didn't cut them yesterday [which would explain why Tiger's Stimpmeter read only nine]. We had a record rainfall in June and July and then some pretty intense heat a week or two ago, so they're a little banged up. But we will be ready for the Championship."

That was the case two weeks ago at the Open Championship, where Woods admitted he struggled to adapt to green speeds that got slower as the tournament progressed. He ended up tied for sixth, 5 strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson.

"There were so many positives, how well I hit it and how well I played," Woods said. "Looking back on it, as I was saying on Sunday night [at Muirfield] with you guys, the only difference is I just didn't get the feel of those greens the last few days, and I didn't make the adjustments. That's my fault for not making the adjustments. You've got to make the adjustments and I didn't do it, and consequently I didn't win the tournament."

Woods has won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club seven times, but his tie for eighth in 2012 was his first top-10 finish since he last won here in 2009.

Since 2007, the Bridgestone has been played the week prior to the PGA Championship, which was last played at Oak Hill in 2003. That year, Woods finished tied for 39th, his second-worst 72-hole performance in a major championship as a pro. (He tied for 40th at the Masters last year.)

"I just didn't remember it playing as long as it did when we played it yesterday," Woods said. "Granted, it always plays long when you don't have the adrenaline flowing and it's not a tournament situation. But I had my [yardage] book from the last time we played, and most of the times where I hit a 2-iron I was hitting 5-wood, and 3-wood is still 3-wood and driver is still driver."

Oak Hill endured a severe storm in early July that damaged bunkers and caused a tree to fall on the eighth green. Seven holes on the East Course, site of the tournament, were flooded.

"They just don't have a lot of grass on them," Woods said of the greens. "So not going to push them now and save them for tournament week. And I'm sure by Monday they'll get them up to speed. They're looking to get them at around 12 and 13 [on the Stimpmeter], but you don't want to do it for two weeks with how they are right now. Just save them for the week of the tournament."

Woods will play the first two rounds of the Bridgestone with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama. His Thursday tee time is at 9:20 a.m. ET. Mickelson is grouped with Brandt Snedeker, last week's Canadian Open winner, and tees off at 1:40 p.m. with U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.