Tiger Woods Is Struggling Just Days Before the British Open Begins


Tiger Woods’ last round of competitive golf came at the U.S. Open on June 16. Exactly one month has passed since then, and Woods admits his game is not at its best with the British Open starting Thursday.

Woods played 18 holes on both Sunday and Monday to prepare for the tournament, but even with that he wasn’t where he wanted to be 48 hours before the Open.

“It’s not quite as sharp as I’d like to have it right now,” Woods said during a news conference Tuesday. “My touch around the greens is right where I need to have it. But I still need to shape the golf ball a little bit better than I am right now, especially with the weather coming in and the winds are going to be changing. I’m going to have to be able to cut the ball, draw the ball, hit it at different heights and move it all around.

“Today was a good range session. I need another one tomorrow — and hopefully that will be enough to be ready.”

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The 148th Open Championship will be held at a course that is unfamiliar to most of the field. Royal Portrush Golf Club will host the event for the first time since 1951.

Woods has cut back on his schedule and has stayed true to his vow to play fewer events this season. The Open will be his fifth tournament since April, and four of those have been Grand Slams.

He admits that with his history of injuries and surgeries, he has to have a light schedule if he wants to stick around for a few more years.

“I want to play here as long as I possibly can,” Tiger said. “And you have to understand: If I play a lot, I won’t be out here that long.”

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Woods spent the last month not touching a golf club as he and his family went on a vacation to his mother’s homeland of Thailand. The Woods family rode elephants and went on a safari, but not a lick of golf was played.

“The clubs stayed in the travel case,” Woods said, per The Guardian. “Like I told you guys, I wouldn’t touch them. I didn’t do a damn thing. I putted as soon as I got back and then built it up from there.”

When Woods did return, he hit up Brooks Koepka, who has won four of the last nine major tournaments in which he participated. Tiger wanted to play a practice round with the Official World Golf Ranking’s No. 1 player — but said he heard crickets when he texted Koepka.

“You mind if I tag along and play a practice round,” Woods said he asked of Koepka. “I’ve heard nothing.”

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Of all of the major championships, the British Open is the one that has eluded Woods the longest. He has won the tournament three times before, but the last win came in 2006. He’s won all of the other majors since then.

Woods finished tied for sixth place in last year’s Open after missing the previous two editions due to injury. His finishes at the other majors this year include a win at the Masters, a missed cut at the PGA Championship and a tie for 21st at the U.S. Open.

Woods will tee off at 10:10 am EST on Thursday. Also in his group are Matt Wallace and Patrick Reed.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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