The good news and bad news for Tiger heading into The Open
Tiger Woods is playing in his first Open since missing the cut at St. Andrews in 2015, and he comes in having contended in several events this season, including his last start at the Quicken Loans National.
However, Woods has still shown some rustiness throughout the year, and he has made big mistakes when he’s gotten into the hunt.
So here is the good news and bad news for Woods heading into his 20th Open start.
He’s healthy! This time last year, Woods didn’t even know if he would play again. And now after his fourth back surgery, he has made it this far into the season without any major issues … (knocks on wood).
Woods hasn’t played that well in the first two majors of the season. He made the cut at the Masters, but he only broke par once on a course he used to dominate. At the U.S. Open, Woods was never a factor after an opening-round 78 and missed the cut.
Woods has contended in several tournaments this season. He had a legitimate chance to win the Valspar (T-2) and at Bay Hill (T-5). He has also recorded solid finishes at The Honda (12th), Players (T-11) and in his last start at the Quicken Loans National (T-4). Woods also sports a solid track record at Carnoustie – T-68 in 1995 (amateur), T-7 in ’99 and T-12 in 2007.
He can’t avoid the big mistakes. Woods either hits a poor shot at the wrong time, or makes a big number to kill his momentum. He was only one off the lead at Bay Hill until he pulled a drive into someone’s backyard at the par-5 16th. And Woods has made a double bogey or worse at least once in six out of his last seven tournaments.
Woods will be able to hit plenty of stingers at Carnoustie. With firm and fast conditions expected at the 147th Open, Woods will likely be able to adopt his winning strategy from Royal Liverpool and hit 2-iron off the tee and avoid the trouble lurking around one of the toughest tests in the Open rota. And that will allow him to play to his strengths – Woods is ranked third in strokes gained: approach to the green.
Woods has been struggling on the greens. The 14-time major champion benched his trusty Scotty Cameron putter in favor of a new TaylorMade model. Woods did show some improvement in his last start, but will he have enough confidence built up with his new flatstick in time to contend in a major?
This time next year, The Open will return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years. Be part of the biggest party in golf in 2019. Get immediate access to priority tickets for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush when you sign up today to join The One Club for free. Simply go to TheOpen.com/PortrushTickets