The U.S. Open gets sexy

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Updated | 4:31 p.m. Since when did Tiger Woods get buff?

Bored with CNN, I flipped on the U.S. Open today and caught a portion of the 18-hole playoff between Woods and Rocco Mediate. As I tuned in, there was Woods walking along the fairway at Torrey Pines.

First, there’s his swagger, though not all that surprising for an elite athlete. But the bounce of his chest and the flexing muscles in his arms as he moved caught my eye – in a good way not expected (nor seen) from professional golfers. The pudgy Mediate is more the norm.

My assumption was that Woods kicked the physical therapy into high gear after his knee surgery about two months ago. But a few more clicks on Google revealed that Woods, 32, has added 30 pounds of muscle since he left Stanford in 1996.

Woods talked about his workouts with Men’s Fitness in August 2007:

“I’ve never, ever hurt myself lifting,” Woods said. “I hear people say, ‘I hurt this’ or ‘I hurt that.’ I don’t even know what that feels like. I’ve been sore, but I’ve always been able to function and do whatever I wanted to. … Some people let their ego get in the way. You have to listen to your inner self. Your body knows when it can be pushed and when you just need to back off a little bit.”

His routine includes up to 40 minutes of stretching, core exercises, weight training and runs of seven miles for endurance and three miles for speed. High reps with smaller weights is how this golfer rolls. At 6 feet 2 inches and weighing in the mid-180s, his three-hour gym sessions are working out just fine.

Update | Tiger Woods takes his third U.S. Open title in a sudden death playoff. That comes after he takes the lead in the 18-hole playoff, then loses it and then ties it on the 18th to force sudden death. “He’s so hard to beat. He’s unreal,” Mediate says.

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