US Open: The pick of the quotes from the challengers at Shinnecock

Tiger Woods at the US Open
Tiger Woods at the US Open

Tiger Woods is warning about traffic trouble while Phil Mickelson warns the USGA not to go too far - get the latest quotes from the US Open.

Everything's a bonus for Tiger

It's ten years since Tiger Woods' remarkable US Open win on one leg at Torrey Pines, but as he closes out a decade-long major drought he insists he's happy just to be back playing in the event.

Woods won the last of his 14 major titles at the 2008 US Open but has not played in the event since 2015, when he shot rounds of 80 and 76 at Chambers Bay.

The 42-year-old underwent spinal fusion surgery in April 2017 and is keeping anything golf-related in perspective given the troubles he's battled through.

"I had no expectation to think I could actually be here again," said Woods, who is 22/1 to win the US Open. "This time last year I was just given the okay to start walking again.

"It was about just having my standard of life. Forget golf. Could I participate in my kids' lives again? That was the main goal, being able to play again was a bonus.

"A lot of this is a pure bonus because of where I was. To be here is a great feeling and one I don't take for granted.

"Golf is always frustrating. There's always something that is not quite right and that's why we have to make adjustments. Of the tournaments I've played in this year there's been something missing; hopefully this is one of those weeks where I put it all together and we'll see what happens."

Tiger Woods believes a fellow competitor could miss their tee time in the US Open this week due to the traffic problems around Shinnecock Hills.

But the 14-time major winner will not have any such issues after docking his multi-million dollar yacht at nearby Sag Harbor.

"Staying on the dinghy helps!" Woods joked at his pre-tournament press conference ahead of his first US Open appearance since 2015.

Mickelson warns against 'carnival golf'

Phil Mickelson warns the USGA not to get carried away

Six-time US Open runner-up Phil Mickelson, a 30/1 shot to win and complete his grand slam, is happy to take on a tough test at Shinnecock but, as he chases the only major missing from his collection, he's warned the USGA not to go overboard.

"I think it's a very difficult job to find the line of testing the best players to the greatest degree and then making it carnival golf," said Mickelson.

"I think it's a very fine line, and it's not a job I would want. The USGA are doing the best they can to find that line, and a lot of times they do, and sometimes they cross over it.

"The difficulty is, when you dream of a championship as a child and you work hours and hours and do all this prep work and then you are left to chance the outcome, as opposed to skill, then that's a problem."

Spieth unaware of rule change

Jordan Spieth with the US Open trophy
Jordan Spieth is hoping to add another US Open trophy

His name may be on the trophy, but an important change to this year's US Open had apparently escaped the attention of 18/1 shot Jordan Spieth.

The USGA announced in February that it had abandoned its 18-hole, next-day format for play-offs, starting with immediate effect at Shinnecock Hills, but Spieth obviously did not get the memo.

"It's the first I've heard of that being an option," said Spieth, who would have faced an 18-hole play-off with Dustin Johnson at Chambers Bay had the world number one not missed from three feet for birdie on the 72nd hole.

"I didn't even know. I guess strategy changes a little from an entire round, but I honestly had no idea that it even changed.

"I was even looking at a weather forecast for Monday, thinking what's it look like if you happen to work your way into a play-off. Shows you what I know."

Spieth is the only member of the world's top six without a victory this season, with his putting coming under intense scrutiny, but the 24-year-old is confident he can enjoy a strong second half to the season.

"I think my patience has been tested, just not going into Saturday or Sunday with a legitimate chance to win," added the former world number one.

"Compared to previous years, the limited number of chances I've had on the weekends has been frustrating. I feel like my game is in the best shape it's been in a long time, including last year.

"And my results don't necessarily speak towards that, but I feel that way, and so I'll stick with the process, and they'll surely come at some point."

Mental toughness key for Day

Jason Day - 4/5 to win play-off
Jason Day says mental toughness is key at the US Open

Jason Day believes his US Open record and the bad attitude of some of his competitors make him a strong contender to win a second major title at Shinnecock Hills.

Day's form figures in the US Open were an impressive 2-59-2-4-9-8 before last year's missed cut at Erin Hills, which came during a winless season disrupted by his mother's battle with cancer.

Since his mother underwent successful treatment the former US PGA champion has been able to get back on track and has won twice on the PGA Tour this season.

Asked if the US Open was the major which suited him the most, Day said: "I would agree just because of my finishes, but it's more so the mentality part of it.

"When you come into an event like this you hear guys moaning and groaning about the setup or, how tight things are or the healthy fescue or something. You can kind of write people off straight away if they're complaining.

"When it comes to the US Open it tests every part of your game and the mental side as well. So whatever you get, you get. You just got to kind of suck it up and just keep going.

"I like the stressful part of trying to win a tournament and I like the stressful part about playing a tough tournament in front of a lot of people and trying to win a major.

"I enjoy tough conditions because I feel like I thrive better under those conditions than an easier course where everyone can come in and play."

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