BETHESDA, Md. - Philadelphia was on Tiger Woods' mind yesterday at media day for his AT&T National tournament.
About Merion Golf Club, site of next month's U.S. Open, Woods said he has never seen the Ardmore course but he is planning to play it before the Open.
And while he said he wants to keep his tourney at Congressional in suburban Washington, he appeared to leave the door open for a possible return to Aronimink. The Newtown Square club hosted Woods' tourney for 2 years while Congressional was being prepared for the 2011 U.S. Open.
Woods said his tourney was not without options - "whether it's Philly or it's in the D.C./Baltimore area."
The current deal between Woods' tournament and Congressional runs through next year, and the club's members - some of whom aren't happy with the annual disruptions that come with hosting a PGA Tour event - are scheduled to vote later this year whether to welcome the tournament for another 3 years.
Woods said he plans to play Merion so he can chart the greens and get an overall feel for the course.
"I don't know if it's hilly or it's flat," Woods said. "Is it predominantly right to left, left to right? Whether it's going to be the driver, or is it going to be the 3-wood that week or 5-wood, I don't know. These are all things that I'll get an understanding for when I first go play it."
Woods spoke for some 20 minutes about the state of his game, belly putters, the U.S. Open and the AT&T National. As he was wrapping up, he needed just one word to cover the topic of Sergio Garcia.
Asked if he had any thought of contacting Garcia to make amends, Woods quickly answered: "No." He smiled. Nearly everyone else in the room laughed.
Hardly the best of the friends, the Woods-Garcia relationship hit petty proportions during this month's Players Championship over a dispute as to whether Woods inadvertently or maliciously - or somewhere in between - disrupted the Spaniard's swing when they were paired together in the tournament's third round.
Woods seemed quite relaxed yesterday - hardly surprising, given how well he has been playing. Woods already has four PGA Tour wins this year and is the defending champion at the AT&T, although it has been nearly 5 years since he last won a major.
"My game is coming around, and to have won seven times the last couple years is something I'm proud of," he said. "It's not easy to do, but the swing changes with [swing coach Sean Foley], I'm starting to see it now and starting to get the consistency."
The PGA Tour is expected to announce today whether to adopt a proposed rule banning the anchored stroke usually associated with belly putters. Woods supports the ban, which wouldn't take effect until 2016.
"I hope they do it as soon as possible, to be honest with you," he said. "I've always felt that in golf you should have to swing the club, control your nerves and swing all 14 clubs, not just 13."