TIGER WOODS says it is great to be staying on board his “dinghy” for the US Open – especially when it is actually a £15million yacht that sleeps 12 people.
Woods has docked his 155-foot boat, Privacy, less than an hour away from Shinnecock Hills, and is using it as his base for an assault on a long-overdue 15th Major title.
Despite his dismissive description of the craft, he is not exactly roughing it.
It boasts a bar, a jacuzzi that can accommodate eight people, a movie theatre, and a huge stateroom. And with a crew of nine, it costs £1.5million a year to keep it afloat.
Woods, 42, says it is practical as well as luxurious, especially as the local traffic has been causing his rivals nightmares.
One qualifier, 17 year old Noah Godwin, missed his first practice round despite a 6.15am tee time. A journey that was supposed to take 15 minutes actually took one hour and forty.
Woods commented: “Staying on the dinghy definitely helps, especially when you hear some of the problems the guys are experiencing.
“A few guys so far have said it's taken them from the hotel two and a half to three hours from the official hotel and there's a good chance that someone might miss their tee time.
“You get a little traffic, you get maybe a little fender bender, it's not inconceivable someone could miss their slot.”
Woods grinned as he admitted his yacht – which is five feet bigger than the Statue of Liberty, which he sailed past on his way here – is dwarfed by some of the others moored in Sag Harbour.
The Hamptons is one of America’s most expensive locations, and he said: “It's not the biggest yacht in the harbour, but I’m ok with that.
"It’s been nice to get away from the tournament scene and go to my dinghy, and just enjoy it.”
The former world No 1 may be enjoying Privacy, but what he really craves is the glare of publicity that would come from a victory ten years after he won the last of his 14 Majors.
That seemed an impossible dream when he was sat at home watching last year’s US Open on TV, just a few weeks after being arrested with a cocktail of prescription drugs in his system, looking a physical wreck.
Woods added: “My life has gotten so much better in the last year. Last June there was really no thought that I could actually be here again.
“I was just given the okay to start walking again, start moving around, and so it was about just having my standard of life.
"Forget golf. Can I actually participate in my kids' lives again?
“That's something that I had missed for a few years, and that was the main goal of it. And then it was a bonus to hear why don’t you go hit some putts today, and then hit some chips.
"I had no expectation of getting this far, so a lot of this is pure bonus because of where I was.
"To be able to have this opportunity to play USGA events, to play against these guys, the best players in the world, it's just a great feeling and one that I don't take for granted.
“Since the 2008 US Open I would say I have been there on a number of occasions to win more Major championships, and I haven't done it. And no, I don't like that feeling.
“I've certainly had nice runs where I've won a few. Unfortunately, over the last ten years, I haven't. But for the first few years of my career, I did pretty well.”