Woods ‘good to go’ at British Open
Elbow injury not an issue for world number one as he prepares at Muirfield
Tiger Woods with his caddie Joe Lacave on the fifth fairway during a practice round at Muirfield today. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters
The statistics point to an increasingly injury-prone player no longer in his awesome, dominating prime. From the start of his professional career, Tiger Woods played in 46 consecutive major championships and won 14 of them.
Since the last of those victories in the 2008 US Open there have been 20 more. Woods has played in 16 and won none. Not surprisingly, the world number one sees it differently as he seeks to get closer to Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories by claiming a fourth British Open title at Muirfield.
“Even though I haven’t won a major championship in five years, I’ve been there in a bunch of them where I’ve had chances,” the 37-year-old said. “I just need to keep putting myself there and eventually I’ll get some.
“I think it’s just a shot here and there. It’s making a key up and down or getting a good bounce here and there, capitalising on an opportunity here and there. For instance, this year at Augusta was one of those examples. I really played well and a good shot ended up having a bad break (his third shot to the 15th in the second round hitting the flag and bouncing back into the water).
“So it’s a shot here and a shot there. It’s not much. It could happen on the first day, it could happen on the last day. But it’s turning that tide and getting the momentum at the right time or capitalising on your opportunity. That’s what you have to do to win major championships.”
Since beating Rocco Mediate in a play-off at Torrey Pines, Woods has suffered from numerous injuries, most famously revealing he had won the event despite a stress fracture of the leg and torn knee ligaments. That meant he missed the British Open and US PGA Championship later that year, while further knee and Achilles problems meant he missed the US Open and British Open in 2011.
This year has brought four wins on the PGA Tour but in the last of them, the Players Championship in May, he suffered an elbow injury which he did not reveal at the time but which was subsequently exacerbated by playing out of the thick rough at Merion in the US Open.
“It didn’t feel good, especially in the rough,” added Woods, who finished 13 over par, 12 behind champion Justin Rose and has not played competitively since. “You go from (clubhead speed of) 100-some-odd miles an hour to virtually zero. I really couldn’t get through it and it hurt.