Woods gets taste of Muirfield

 

Tiger Woods today had his first taste of the Open Championship venue at Muirfield where he will be chasing the third leg of an unprecedented Grand Slam.

Woods, who has already won the US Masters and US Open this year, has not played competitively since securing his eighth major title in New York last month having withdrawn from the Advil Western Open due to illness a fortnight ago.

The world number one has spent last week preparing on links courses arounf Ireland, including a course record 67 at the European Club in Co Wicklow, and looked fit and relaxed as he strolled on to the first tee for a practice round with Mark O'Meara.

O'Meara's opening shots gave Woods a perfect demonstration of the perils in store at Muirfield, which has not staged an Open championship since Nick Faldo's victory 10 years ago.

The former Open and Masters champion did not bother to try and play either of his two balls from knee high rough, preferring to drop onto the fairway.

Woods himself had more luck in finding the fairway and his second to the tough 448-yard opening hole came up just short of the putting surface.

The 26-year-old then took irons off the tee on the next two holes, a strategy he is likely to repeat on a regular basis when the tournament starts on Thursday with accuracy at a premium.

As well as the deep rough lining the narrow fairways, there are 148 bunkers to be avoided, something Woods was unable to do to his cost at Lytham last year when David Duval won his first major title.