My First Open - Armour finally targeting Tiger revenge 25 years on
Tiger Woods has broken plenty of hearts and dashed dozens of dreams throughout his career but Ryan Armour now finally has a shot at revenge.
Their duel for the 1993 US Amateur Championship was gripping and helped shape Woods’ never-say-die spirit that would carry him to 14 majors.
Armour was two up with two to play but Woods birdied them both to force a play-off, which he then, of course, went on to win.
It seemed that would be the first of many legendary battles. With Armour just three months older, the pair were expected to forge an exciting new rivalry at the top of golf and hoover up major championships.
Woods has done that, with 14 to his name. But Armour arrives at Carnoustie in 2018 ready to compete at a major for the first time.
“I don’t know what I was thinking back then, I was 17 or 18. You go through life cycles and somehow his career ended up okay. He won a few times,” he said.
“It is a good memory in hindsight.”
Following his play-off win, Woods went on to win three more consecutive US Amateurs and 79 PGA Tour titles. Victory at Carnoustie would mark his fourth Open title to close within three of Jack Nicklaus – who leads the way with 18 majors.
The wait is over
However, the stars did not align for Armour in quite the same way. He has played in almost twice as many Web.com Tour events as PGA Tour events and failed to reach the US Open, despite 20 attempts at qualifying.
“I have been waiting for it,” he said of reaching a major.
“To be here aged 42 for the first time is something incredible. I wish I had done it aged 22 but I feel like I have got better as a player every year and it is nice to see that paying off.
“I probably have more drive and motivation than I ever have done. My kids are getting to the age where they understand it so for me that is a drive for me to dedicate myself to it and show them what dad can do.
“So far I feel very relaxed and at home here. I get butterflies at every tournament so we will see how that goes.
“I almost quit the game five years ago but I stopped myself from doing it and re-dedicated myself to it. My game improved.”
That’s an understatement. Armour admits he could have taken the money and flitted between the PGA Tour and the Web.com Tour but his drive to prove himself was too big.
He told coach Jason Carbone "you've got five years to make me good” and he has not looked back since.
He won for the first time at the Sanderson Farms Championship, beating Chesson Hadley by five strokes, and next month he will compete in his second major at the PGA Championship.
A second-place finish at The National last month backed up that maiden win and he arrives in Scotland full optimism - despite a crash course in links golf.
“I have not been to Scotland and never played links golf before, so this is a true experience,” he said.
“The closest thing I have got to this is playing some of the courses in Australia, they are links-y but they are not true links golf courses like this – this is a proper course.”
Carnoustie may not be the ideal venue for links beginners but The Open has a habit of throwing up a surprise winner or two.
As Armour says: “There are countless Champion Golfers of the Year that have lost in a play-off with Tiger – let’s see what happens.”
TheOpen.com is the only place to get all the latest news from The 147th Open at Carnoustie. This time next year, The Open will return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.
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