The Open: Tiger Woods believes in first major win at St Andrews since 2008
144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews
Dates: 16-19 July
Former world number one Tiger Woods says he can win his 15th major at this week’s Open, claiming his game is “heading in the right direction”. But on the day will the pressure get to him. Only time will tell.
Woods, 39, has not won a major since the 2008 US Open and has struggled with form and injury in recent years with back problems and other personal issues.
The American also said that golf was “in good hands” with current world top two Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
Woods has been hampered by a back problem, for which he had surgery in 2014, and has been trying to alter his swing.
He has struggled for form throughout 2015 and has recorded three scores in the 80s in his last six tournaments. Last month, he shot his worst round of his professional career – a 13-over 85 at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio – and he missed the cut in the US Open at Chambers Bay with his worst score in the event 16 over par.
However, he carded his best round of the year – a four-under-par 66 – on the first day of the Greenbrier Classic on 2 July.
“My body’s finally good. I’m just not as wiry and as whippy as I used to be. And being 39 versus 19 is totally different.
“If you’re making changes you have to take a couple of steps backwards before you make the giant leap forward – if you look throughout my career when I’ve made swing changes I’ve gone through that suffering period and I’ve come out pretty good on the other side.”
“I wouldn’t say I’ve found the solution – it’s a process, an evolution, making subtle shifts, fine tuning and getting the overall pattern different, and that takes time.”
“I’m starting to feel like I’m getting more consistent – the last round at Greenbrier was probably the best I’ve hit in a couple of years.”
“I know I’m heading in the right direction. It’s going take a tremendous amount of work and a lot of patience but I’ll get there eventually.”
In 2009, Woods admitted cheating on his then wife Elin Nordegren and having affairs. He took a five-month break from golf and has not won a major since his affairs.
In May this year, his two-year relationship with US Olympic skiing champion Lindsey Vonn ended. Woods said the break-up was “brutal”.
“It’s a little bit harder now, because I just don’t have as much time to devote to practising.”
“My kids are the most important things in my life. When I was younger I could practise 14 hours a day – it didn’t matter as I didn’t have any other responsibilities.”
“Now with my kids in my life and my foundation [a charity helping provide college-access opportunities for low-income students], which is so important and which we are trying to grow, I have more responsibilities.”
“But my two kids are everything for me. I drop golf and everything to be with them.”
Woods last won the Open in 2006 – the third time he has won the oldest major tournement. Since then, the best he has done is tied for third in 2012.
His two other wins in the event – in 2000 and 2005 – both came at St Andrews, where this year’s Open will be held and were Tiger believes he can win again to gain his 15th Major Trophy
“It’s my favourite golf course in the world. I love coming back here and seeing it and remembering all the shots and remembering all the good times I’ve had here.”
“The creativity that it takes and the discipline – people don’t realise how much you need to shape the ball and the discipline it takes to play this course.”
These are the fourteen major victories which Woods has won
The Masters in 1997 a year after turn professional, 2001, 2002 and 2005
PGA Championship in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007
The US Open 2000, 2002 and 2008
The Open Championship in 2000, 2005 and 2006