ST. ANDREWS (Scotland) Tiger WoodsAfter his return to competitive golf in April, 15-time major winner, he declared St. Andrews as his favorite course after he announced he would be playing at the 150th Open.
Woods loves it for many reasons. He won his first Claret Jug here, in 2000, by 8 strokes. This was also the year he completed his career grand final. He set a major record with his 19-under total of 72 holes. Remarkably, he didnt hit a single shot into a bunker. He won his second consecutive major title in what has become known as the Tiger Slam.
Five years later Woods arrived at St. Andrews as No. 2 in the world — just behind Vijay Singh. Woods hadnt won any majors in the two previous seasons and was working with Hank Haney to retool his swing. Woods won the first round with a 6-under 65 and hasnt looked back since. It was Woods 10th major championship win.
This brings us to this week when Woods will be at center of any discussion. There are many other stories. Well show you the most important stories of the week.
What can we expect from Tiger this Week?
His game is not as good as it was after he sustained serious injuries in a car accident on Feb. 23, 2021. He has played just seven rounds of competitive, which includes his worst scores at The Masters. Masters PGA Championship. Given his current situation 17 months ago its more remarkable that he made the cut for those majors, even though he had to. After 54 holes, withdrawSouthern Hills PGA Championship due to pain in his right leg after he had surgery.
Woods, 46, seemed to be wondering if this would his last chance at The Open at St. Andrews.
Woods stated last week that This is a very historic Open that will be played, to reporters in Ireland. I am lucky enough to be one of the past champions there, and [I]I would love to play there again. I would like to be able give it at least one more try at a high-level.
Its not surprising that Woods walked 18 holes on Saturday and Sunday, given his current health and the fact that he missed the U.S. Open due to problems with his right leg. Woods Justin ThomasSaturday nights walk consisted of 18 holes. The majority of the time was spent chipping and putting. They then played a full practice gameSunday was less than 12 hours after the original Sunday.
Although St. Andrews may not be as hilly or as steep as Augusta National and Southern Hills, there is plenty of undulation for Woods. The ground is also very hard. He will find it easier.
Thomas stated, I can see both sides. Its definitely flatter but its definitely more quirky. You take a lot more bizarre steps. But hes not the only one who can answer this question.
The LIV effect
The LIV Golf/PGA Tour controversy has dominated the season, but the R&A is hoping it takes a break at The Open this week. So much so that R&A officials We werent invitedLIV Golf CEO Greg NormanTwo-time Open winner, he will be attending the Celebrations of Champions, or champions dinner in St. Andrews this Week.
Defending Open champion Collin MorikawaPlayers were tired of answering questions regarding LIV Golf.
Morikawa stated at the Scottish Open that I could say a mouthful about me being defending champion 150th Open at St Andrews, Morikawa said. Tiger Woods will be playing again. It doesnt get any better than that. Its tough. Its difficult to beat that.
Since the LIV event in London, June 9-11, many LIV players have seen a decline in their world rankings. Mickelson has fallen to 72nd to 92nd, Johnson is now at 18th, and DeChambeau is now at 33rd.
The Guardian of London reported on Sunday that LIV Golf officials had planned to demand it formal recognition in world rankings during Wednesdays board meeting of the Official World Golf Ranking.
Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner, and Keith Pelley (DP World Tour CEO) make up the OWGR board.
McIlroy finally gets his chance
Rory McIlroyNo. 2 in the world. He was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury sustained while playing soccer.
McIlroy tied the record for the lowest round in majors in 2010 with a 9-under score of 63 in the first round at St. Andrews.
McIlroy comes into this one having played some the best golf of their careers. He has been in the top ten at all three majors this season, finishing solo second at Masters, eighth at PGA Championship, and tied fifth at U.S. Open.
Its a great location for him to finally end his major drought. Since winning the 2014 PGA Championship, he has played in 29 majors.
McIlroy said that I cant go to The Open approaching it as if I have unfinished business at this course, TheOpen.com. You know, I feel like theres enough pressure upon me without adding more. Its one Ive been looking forward too for a long time.
Scheffler can Scheffler find his form
Scheffler, the No. Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world is well on his way towards earning PGA Tour Player Of The Year honors. He won four times in six starts this year, including His first major was at the Masters in April. Since then, he hasnt won but tied for second at Charles Schwab Challenge (losing). Sam BurnsIn a playoff) and tied second at the U.S. Open.
Scheffler missed last weeks cut at the Scottish Open. This was the second time Scheffler has missed the weekend in six previous starts. He had never been to St. Andrews before Sunday’s practice round.
Definitely learned a lot. [at the Scottish Open], Scheffler said. I had some difficulty going into the greens, playing the bounce, and judging stuff like this. It was too soft for me to believe it would be firm. This week, I was on the wrong side of things more than usual. Going into [The Open]If I do my best with the putter, then Ill be all set to go.
Last chance to get into a major
Xander SchauffeleHe won the Scottish Open on Sunday. This was his second win in as many PGA Tour starts after he also won Travelers Championship two week ago. (He also picked up the 36-hole JP McManus Pro-Am last week in Ireland). He is the sixth player to enter a major after he won back-toback starts. McIlroy was the only player from the five previous winners of a major at the 2014 PGA Championship.
Schauffele will attempt to win his first major in this seasons last. At fifth the world, he is now the second-highest-ranked player in the world without a major championship victory. Only Patrick CantlayHe is ranked fourth among players who have not won a major. Others who are aiming to win their first major include: Cameron Smith (sixth), Viktor Hovland(ninth), and Burns (1/11).
Will ZalatorisAlready a three-time runner-up in nine majors, he will also try to win his first-ever PGA Tour win.
Will the wind blow or not?
The Open will not be the weather they had hoped for. Temperatures were unusually high over the weekend. Mondays forecast predicted highs in the mid 70s, before temperatures dropped slightly before Thursdays first round.
Winds between 15 and 20 mph are expected from the west/southwest. It doesnt seem like the North Sea swirling winds which have frustrated players for centuries wont be much of an issue.
Scotlands weather is unpredictable. Even for the best players, conditions in Scotland are not always predictable.
If the wind isnt blowing, scores can be very, very low, because the Old Course doesn’t play as long as before.
Thomas stated, I believe it could somehow be opposite. The fairways have already become firm. If the fairways get baked and become as firm as the fairways, you wont be able to get very near them. It will take patience, discipline, and shot-making.
Can Jordan Spieth get in contention again?
Spieth, 2017 Open winner, at Royal Birkdale, has never missed The Opens cut in eight starts and has four top-10 finishes, including solo second in 2020. The Open at St. Andrews is his favorite tournament.
Spieth stated that he was just thinking about the history of the town, and the idea that it could be either the easiest or most difficult venue depending on the day. Maybe it was because I grew to watch certain ones growing up, so the holes, those scenic holes that start and finish really kind of hold onto me.
Spieth was trying to win his third consecutive major at The Open at St. Andrews 2015, after having won the Masters and U.S. Open. He missed out on a playoff. Zach JohnsonHe was awarded the win and tied for fourth.
Spieth said, Its a really special tournament for my back in 2015, trying for a third consecutive and just kinda the crowd, you know, I made the putt on 16 and kinda the finish, it was really enjoyable contending in that major, and having a shot to win,
Record crowds expected
The R&A announced in April that a record-breaking 290,000 fans are expected at St. Andrews this week. More than 1.3 million tickets were requested, and the number of tickets issued will exceed the 239,000 who saw Woods win his first Claret Jug on the Old Course in 2000.
The R&A said a record 80,000 fans will attend the four practice days, exceeding the 61,000 who watched them at Royal Portrush in 2019. A total of 20% of general admission tickets were given to fans under 25, with more than 20,000 tickets going to children under 16.
Because of an ongoing labor dispute, the R&A has advised fans not to travel to St. Andrews by rail.