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Tiger Woods poised to win 15th major at U.S. Open

Tiger Woods hitting tee shot during practice round Tuesday will be joined by Phil MickelsBubbWatsfor first two rounds U.S. Open.

Tiger Woods, hitting a tee shot during a practice round Tuesday, will be joined by Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open. | Andrew Redington~Getty Images

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Updated: June 12, 2012 5:48PM

SAN FRANCISCO—Tiger Woods enters this year’s U.S. Open looking like he’s as good a threat to win his 15th major championship as he’s been in a while.

And yet, the most decorated golfer of his generation sounded like a player who can’t win with fans and media after his practice round at the Olympic Club on Tuesday.

Asked if he’s back to his old self, or if he needs to win a major to silence the critics, Woods said, ``Which question do you want me to answer?”

Does he have to win a major to prove he’s back?

``Even if I do win a major championship, it will still be, `You’re not to 18 yet.’ Or, `When will you get to 19?’ It’s always something with you guys. I’ve dealt with that my entire career, ever since I was an amateur. It hasn’t changed.’’

Woods, whose last major title came at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, showed signs he’s ready to continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major titles with a victory at the prestigious Memorial 10 days ago.

But this Olympic Club layout is expected to live up to the U.S. Open’s usual rigorous standards, particularly the first six holes.

``If you play [the first six] for four straight days even par,’’ Woods said, ``you’re going to be picking up just a boatload of shots. They’re just difficult.’’

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