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The 148th Open Royal Portrush
What they said
The best quotes from Practice Day 3

Tiger blanked by Brooks

As the start of The 148th Open draws ever nearer, many of the biggest names in golf faced the world’s media on Tuesday before beginning their quest for Claret Jug glory.

The headline event saw three-time Champion Golfer of the Year Tiger Woods speak at length for the first time since arriving in Northern Ireland for the final major of the year.

Reigning US Open champion Brooks Koepka also took time out from his schedule to discuss his preparations, along with fellow Americans Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

But the focus was not just on players representing the stars and stripes, with Justin Rose representing the European cause after finishing tied for second at Carnoustie last year.

Here’s a rundown of the best quotes from a busy day at Portrush.

Tiger blanked by Brooks

As a 15-time major champion, including three Claret Jug triumphs, Tiger Woods is not someone who is used to being snubbed by his fellow professionals.

But the 43-year-old American, who was in compelling form in front of a packed press conference, revealed his attempt to glean information from Brooks Koepka – and Portrush-naïve caddie Ricky Elliott - was greeted by silence.

“Tell you a funny story. I texted Brooksie, congratulations on another great finish,” he said.

“What he's done in the last four major championships has been just unbelievable. To be so consistent, so solid. He's been in contention to win each and every major championship.

“And I said, ‘Hey, dude, do you mind if I tag along and play a practice round?’ I've heard nothing.”

Brooks welcomes local knowledge

Speaking of Koepka, the reigning US Open champion was quick to hail the influence of Elliott, who knows the Dunluce Links inside out.

Koepka has finished second, first and second in the majors so far this year, but admits he will need to utilise every bit of his man on the bag’s expertise to triumph this week.

Portrush member on the bag

“Luckily my caddie has played this golf course, I can't tell you how many times, so that's a big advantage. It's nice to have him on the bag this week,” he said.

“Every hole I just step up on, ‘You tell me what to do, you've played it more than anybody’. So i just let him figure it out. He knows his spots to miss it.

“The spots to come in from, with different hole locations and different winds. I’ll definitely have a little bit more confidence having him on the bag this week, knowing this golf course so well.”

Thomas not keen on fasting

Phil Mickelson, 2013 Champion Golfer, revealed earlier this week that he had made a drastic change to his diet in the build up to The Open, including fasting for six days.

But while the 49-year-old lost 15 pounds as a result, fellow American Justin Thomas conceded he is not about to follow Mickelson’s lead anytime soon.

“I feel like I've got to be careful what I say here,” he laughed. “No, I haven't. I enjoy food way too much, and I get way too angry if I don't eat.

Favourite venue for Thomas

“But fortunately for Phil, he's in an age where he's tried a lot more things than I have. Sometimes you have to try different things for them to work.

“So maybe it will work for him. Obviously he thinks it's going to give him an advantage or he wouldn't try it. But that's not for me.”

Rose fighting a losing battle

Justin Rose will be hoping to go one step better at The Open this year, after registering his best ever finish at Carnoustie when he finished runner-up to Francesco Molinari.

But the Englishman faces an even tougher battle off the course - convincing his cricket-mad son to put down a bat and pick up a golf club instead.

“Off the course is an important part of it, just to enjoy the week. I have my family here as well this week and my little boy has suddenly gone cricket mad, after the World Cup,” he said. 

“He's in the garden until the sun goes down. He says, Dad, can you bowl a few at me? That kind of thing. For example, if you're in contention, it's a great distraction to take your mind off the golf.

“You can just enjoy having your family around, that helps you stay loose and stay free. Nothing else really matters until you get on that first tee, and that's when you've got to just make that shift.”

The Open Radio started yesterday with a preview show ahead of the 148th Championship.