There may be no Woods in this year’s Open field but a 19-year-old amateur from Hamburg has ensured there will still be a Tiger roaming the Royal Liverpool fairways.
Tiger Christensen came through a star-studded Final Qualifying field boasting the likes of Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell at West Lancashire a fortnight ago to book a debut at golf’s oldest major.
The teenager may become accustomed to questions about his more illustrious namesake as his career develops but while he admits the three-time Champion Golfer is an idol, Christensen is determined to start writing his own story – beginning this week.
“For me, it has never been [a burden] because it’s just my birth name,” he said.
“I understand that people will compare everything I’m going to do straight to him and to me, he is the greatest of all time. It is really special what he’s done for the game, and how he’s changed the game and made it more popular.
“But at the end of the day, it’s a different time. I don’t have any family connection to him and I was not only named after Tiger Woods.
“My Dad had a very good friend who was a boxer who’s retired now, but his ring name was Tiger, so it was fifty-fifty.
“It is just a name but I am glad to be called Tiger. I can’t imagine having another name.”
Hailing from the city which produced the European Cup winners in 1982/83, Christensen originally played more football than golf as a child but had his heart set on the latter from the age of 10.
He has lifted four trophies on the amateur circuit and came close to qualifying for the US Open earlier this year, narrowly falling short.
Rounds of 68 and 67 at West Lancashire saw the German make up for that disappointment and he can now look ahead to playing in front of comfortably the biggest crowds of his fledgling career.
“I’m going in with zero expectations, I just want to take it all in,” he said.
“I played my first DP World Tour event this year and no matter what you do, you might now score how you do, but at the end of the day its great to make those experiences as an amateur, because then you’ve got a head start on the pros.
“I cope with pressure pretty well, although at the DP World Tour there was a new pressure that I hadn’t had yet, which is of playing with spectators who hadn’t seen a shot yet.
“Usually in amateur tournaments, only the final groups when you’re really playing well get spectators.
“But I think the DP World Tour event really helped me going into The Open now, because I’ve made those couple of crowd experiences.”