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Tiger Woods: I thought I might never play the Open again

17 July 2018

Woods had finished T7th behind Scotland's Paul Lawrie in 1999 and T12th in 2007 when Ireland's Padraig Harrington won also in a play-off.

"To be honest with you, I have struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career", Woods said Tuesday during a news conference at Carnoustie that preceded an afternoon practice round. Look what Tom [Watson] did at Turnberry at 59. "So it's possible. Greg [Norman] was there at Birkdale, I think about 54-ish". It certainly can be done. But links-style golf course, you can roll the ball. "That's just the way it goes".

"This will be my fourth time playing The Open at Carnoustie and looking back when I first came here as an amateur (1999) compared to now it is just incredible the golf course has not really changed that much". Woods said Monday that he hit a 3-iron off the 18th tee that went 333 yards.

The golf world turns to Carnoustie Golf Links this weekend for the 147th Open Championship. "Creativity plays such an important role". The most brilliant golfer of all time trying to solve The Open's toughest riddle. His last and fourth back surgery had triggered inner doubts over whether he would return to a competitive environment.

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We won't know until later this week how the weather will affect the groupings at the Open Championship, but we already know who's falling on what side of the draw.

At 42 years old now and more in tune with his mortality (something that seemed completely foreign to him while he was dominating the sport), Tiger Woods was asked on Tuesday if he feels the British Open provides his best chance to win a major championships now. "Watching it on TV, it's great seeing it on TV, but it's even better in person".

"Carnoustie is special. This is my fourth time playing it as a tournament". Also in the mix: Jordan Spieth, the defending champ, who hasn't won a tournament since this time past year. I've progressed throughout the year and had some nice little momentum things, building blocks, which is positive.

He added: "I don't believe in superstition or anything like that, but I just feel like my game is in a good spot and I feel like I'm playing well and creating chances regularly". I've changed putters. I've tweaked my swing a little bit and everything's gotten just a little bit better. "I would like to see him put up that money".

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Those instances account for two of his three Open victories, where in both cases the courses were quite dry and firm.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy must wait until 1253 to tee-off with Australia's Marc Leishman and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark.

In 2006 Woods famously won the Open at Hoylake - where scorched conditions were similar to Carnoustie now - while using his driver only once in four rounds. It can get quick out here - you are going to be seeing a lot of guys hit the ball a long way with not a lot of club'. "It's just hard to keep the ball in play". From my first time coming here as an amateur to being back now, it's just unbelievable how this course doesn't change. He recalls that experience well. You can really make the ball roll 60, 70, 80 yards. So I took a few degrees off of it, just trying to be able to have the ability to chase one down there. Those little moments like that - that was my introduction to links golf. As he stood on the range for the first time that week, he saw a 100-meter sign ... and took dead aim.

Woods said this group's emergence and their closeness - they regularly see each other off the course - is very different to his day when he was unique among his generation and not just for his natural talent. Amateur champ, who grew up in Southern California where golf success relied on vertical - not horizontal - prowess.

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Tiger Woods: I thought I might never play the Open again