Tiger Sets Out in Search of a Fourth Open Title
Tiger Woods heads into The 144TH Open Championship with that old glint back in his eye.
The 39 year-old American arrived at St Andrews seeking to end a winless Major draught that stretches back to 2008 but he believes his swing is in good shape and that his knowledge of the Old Course will count for a lot on a week when the wind is forecast to blow from several different directions.
“I’m confident,” he told a packed audience in his pre-Championship media conference. “I’m hitting the ball much more solid. I’m back to being able to shape my shots both ways and I’m very comfortable with changing my trajectories which is something you have to do on this golf course.
“You have to be able to manoeuvre the golf ball out here because sometimes it can make a 30-50 yard difference to how the ball reacts when it hits the ground. You have to be able to understand that and to play the right shot. I think that’s very important here."
Woods begins the Championship boosted by a solid performance at The Greenbrier Classic but it is his knowledge of the Old Course which he believes might give him the edge over some of his younger rivals.
“I’m very excited to be back here at the Home of Golf, I’ve always loved this golf course from the first time I played it back in ’95. I just love the creativity. You have to be able to hit all different types of shots.
“The first thing I ever heard about St Andrews was that you had to hit it as hard as you can and aim left but that’s not how you have to play the golf course. You have to get the right angles. Over the years I’ve learned how to play the course in all sorts of wind conditions. It changes greatly. You have to put the ball on certain sides of the fairway in order to get the ball close. It’s a little bit softer this year but you still have to hit the right shots. A five degree wind change here changes the golf course completely and that’s something I have always found fascinating.”
Woods tees up this week in what is his fifth Open Championship at St Andrews and it’s clear he still believes he can add to his wins in 2000 and 2005 and still go on to challenge Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Major Championships.
“I feel that my body has finally healed up from surgery last year. I’m still young. I’m not 40 yet. I know some of you guys think I’m buried. But I’m still here in front of you. I’m not done yet.”