Tiger says he wants tourney to return

Published: Monday, Jun. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 - 10:02 am

ARDMORE, Pa. – Even though he recorded his highest score at a major since turning professional, Tiger Woods said he would like to see the U.S. Open return to Merion. He's not sure if the United States Golf Association feels the same way.

"Certainly as a golf course, it could definitely host another major championship," Woods said after a final-round 74 that left him 13 over par for the week. "But I don't know if the USGA wants to; they make a lot of money on other venues."

Because of limited space for spectators and corporate hospitality suites, this U.S. Open likely will produce a revenue loss, USGA executive director Mike Davis has said. Davis, however, insisted the loss was a fair price for returning to a course he has called "magical."

Woods agreed on the course's characteristics, calling it more intimate than previous U.S. Opens. But he found the setup fickle, saying the USGA attempted to "protect par" by locating the holes in difficult places.

Ace in the hole – Shawn Stefani's 4-iron tee shot at No. 17 landed in the rough, popped onto the green, rolled down a hill and turned right before disappearing.

After it found the cup for the first hole in one in five U.S. Opens at Merion, Stefani went bonkers.

"I didn't know what to do but jump up and down for joy," he said.

He put an exclamation mark on the moment by kissing the area of rough where his ball landed.

"We're in Philly," the 31-year-old Texan said. "I know the fans can be tough on you – and they can love you forever. So I'm sure they appreciated that."

Stefani's only previous ace came when he was 13, so he'd like to keep the ball. But if Merion asked for it?

"Well, there's a price for everything," he replied.

Fond farewell? – Sergio Garcia walked into the gallery at the 18th hole essentially to say goodbye.

"Somebody shouted, 'Did you make another 8?' " Garcia said. "And I just went over there and gave her my signed glove."

That ended a frustrating week for Garcia, who finished 15 over but might have contended if not for two holes. Garcia played the 14th and 15th in a combined 16 over for the week.

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