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Tiger is Stalking Historic Win

Back-to-back at the Black?

Three-time U.S. Open winner Tiger Woods is stalking some rare streaks today when the 109th U.S. Open begins on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park.

For starters, he's looking to join Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange as the only winners of consecutive U.S. Open titles in the last 70 years. As well, Woods is trying to become the only player to win each of the four majors in consecutive seasons. Further, a win would make Woods the only player to win multiple titles at the same venue in all four majors.

For good measure, if Woods wins his record-tying fourth U.S. Open this week, he would be the only player to win 10 U.S. Golf Association titles. He and Bobby Jones have nine each.

"I like my chances in any major," said Woods, who also is chasing his 15th major championship. "I just enjoy having to think your way around a golf course. At a lot of the PGA Tour events we play, you just have to make birdies. If you don't shoot 68, you're losing ground. Here if you shoot 68, you're moving up on the leaderboard.

"To me that's fun. Par is rewarded, and a birdie is really rewarded. That, to me, it's how the game of golf should be played."

History, despite his win here in 2002, is against him. Since Strange won his second U.S. Open in a row in 1989, no defending champion has finished in the top 10. Six missed the cut. Even Woods finished tied for 12th in 2001 and tied for 20th in 2003 when he defended U.S. Open titles.

"This is the hardest major we face year in, year out," Woods said. "Narrowest fairways, highest rough.

"I've had some good practice sessions at home, and my practice rounds here this week have been really good. I'm really looking forward to getting out there and competing and playing."

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