Woods ‘good to go’ at British Open
Elbow injury not an issue for world number one as he prepares at Muirfield
“(But) the elbow feels good. It’s one of the good things of taking the time off to let it heal and get the treatment and therapy on it. The main reason was that coming over here the ground is going to be hard and I’m going to need that elbow to be good. And reports were that the rough was going to be high, and it was going to be lush. I needed to have this thing set and healed and everything is good to go.”
Woods has first-hand experience of how tough the rough at Muirfield can be, his hopes of winning the third leg of the Grand Slam in 2002 blown away by a third round of 81 amid terrible conditions.
“That was the worst weather I’ve ever played in, I think because of the fact that we weren’t prepared for it,” Woods recalled of the howling wind and torrential rain which sent scores soaring. “There was a slight chance of a shower. Obviously the forecast was very wrong on that. None of us were prepared clothing-wise. A lot of guys just had golf shirts and a rain jacket, and that was it. The wind-chill was in the 30s. The umbrella became useless because the wind was blowing so hard.
“We played through probably maybe 13, 14 holes of it and then it started easing up towards the end. By then the damage had already been done. I just happened to catch the weather at the worst time and I didn’t play well at the same time. It was a double whammy and I believe that was the worst score I’ve shot as a professional.”
In stark contrast, Woods’ last British Open title came at Hoylake in 2006, when glorious conditions saw him win with an 18-under-par total achieved by hitting an iron off most tees on a course playing hard and fast. Similar conditions are expected to prevail this week, with Woods already hitting a four-iron 285 yards downwind in practice and only needing two three-irons to run through the green on the 575-yard par-five 17th.
“I’m really looking forward to Thursday,” added Woods, who shrugged off being denied the opportunity for some trademark early practice on Monday due to the course being closed until 7am. “It’s playing really fast out there. “I’ve played three days now and I’ve only hit a couple of drivers. I only hit one driver at Hoylake and this course is playing similar to that.”