Critics mad to write off Woods, warns Watson

Frank Dalleres
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FIVE-TIME Open champion Tom Watson has warned Tiger Woods’s doubters that the injury-hit former world No1 could prove them spectacularly wrong at Hoylake this week.

Woods, 38, failed to make the cut last month in his sole appearance since back surgery in March, but is hoping a return to the scene of his 2006 Open triumph could inspire a first Major victory since 2008.

“Why can’t you understand that Tiger Woods may well win this tournament?” said Watson, America’s Ryder Cup captain. “I wouldn’t write off Tiger Woods for a long time. He is a tough competitor, he knows how to swing the club – yes, he’s had injuries and other issues, but you fully expect him to have a much longer career.

“I guarantee you that players looking at these new electronic scoreboards are going to be looking for Tiger Woods’s name, guaranteed.”

Woods will play his first two rounds alongside 2013 double money-list winner Henrik Stenson and two-time Major champion Angel Cabrera, teeing off at 9:04am on Thursday.

In-form Justin Rose plays with Australian Adam Scott, while defending champion Phil Mickelson is in a group with two-time winner Ernie Els and Masters champion Bubba Watson.