Tiger Woods’ arrival into Northern Ireland has been shrouded in uncertainty and the three-time Champion Golfer admits he is looking to find his sharpness ahead of The 148th Open
Woods hasn’t played a competitive round since the U.S. Open in June, where he finished T-21, suggesting it will be a big ask to show up to a major venue he’s never seen before – rusty and with a 43-year-old body that needs management – and expect to be competitive.
In fairness, the American has spent much of his career only ever playing once between the U.S. Open and The Open, while some years, he didn’t play any in that span.
But even Woods’ expectations for the week were measured when he addressed the media on Tuesday at Royal Portrush.
“[My game’s] not quite as sharp as I'd like to have it right now,” Woods said. “My touch around the greens is right where I need to have it but I still need to get the ball – the shape of the golf ball a little bit better than I am right now.
"Especially with the weather coming in and the winds going to be changing, I'm going to have to be able to cut the ball, draw the ball, hit at different heights and move it all around.”
Woods’ preparation for The Open so far has included 1 a.m. wakeup calls at his home in Florida prior to the trans-Atlantic flight. After his arrival into Northern Ireland on Sunday morning, he played 18 holes alongside Patrick Reed.
He played another 18 on Monday with Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, and then played a seven-hole loop Tuesday morning. He isn’t expected to tee it up again before Thursday.
He added: “I've seen enough of [the course] to understand that I'm still going to have to do quite a bit of homework in my yardage book of trying to figure out how I'm going to play each hole with the different winds that are going to be predicted to blow and where to miss the golf ball in the correct spots.”
Woods admits he would have liked to have a practice round with man-of-the-moment Brooks Koepka - who has won four of the last nine majors he's competed in - and his caddie Ricky Elliott, who is a Portrush native.
But even the great Woods' texts sometimes go unanswered...
"I'll tell you a funny story. I texted Brooksie, congratulations on another great finish," explained the 43-year-old. "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."