IT MAY be six traumatic years since he last won a Major, but former world No1 Tiger Woods insists he is ready to claim his fourth Open Championship, starting tomorrow.
The American was on bullish form yesterday when asked what would constitute a satisfactory result in only his second event since back surgery. “First,” he retorted. “That’s always the case.”
Woods has been at Hoylake for several days, reacquainting himself with the course on which he won his last Open and perhaps the most poignant of his 14 Major victories.
It was in 2006 that a 30-year-old Woods, still grieving his father’s death, sobbed on the shoulder of caddie Steve Williams after sinking the winning putt.
“It feels great to come back to Hoylake and to this venue,” he said. “It meant a lot to me in my life. That was a very emotional week.
“I pressed hard at Augusta that year, trying to win it because it was BY FRANK DALLERES the last time my dad was going to see me play a Major, and then I missed the cut at the [US] Open. Then I came here and felt at peace.”
Serious injuries, disruption to his private life, a new swing and a shift in the perception of Woods mean he is a very different golfer now, though his competitive streak is intact.
“I’ve been in circumstances like this before,” Woods, now world No7, added. “I’ve proven I can do it, it’s just a matter of giving myself the best chances to put the ball in the correct spots, to be aggressive when I can, and obviously to hole putts.”