July 17, 2018: Tiger Woods thought his Open Championship days were over – but now thinks the tournament could be his best hope for adding to his 14 Major titles.
Woods is in the field at Carnoustie this week as he appears in his first Open Championship since 2015.
During his lengthy time out through injury, the 42 year old admitted he had thought he may never return to compete in a Major.
“Yeah, there were definitely points in time…I certainly thought I’d never play in this championship again,” he said. “You know, watching it on TV, it’s great seeing it on TV, but it’s even better in person.
“I remember how it feels to come down to the last hole with a chance to win it. And knowing that I may never have that opportunity again, there were some times in there where I just didn’t feel very good.
“But now to have the opportunity to come back to Carnoustie to play here in Scotland again, I’ve said this before throughout this year, it’s been a blessing.
“There were some times where I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do this again, and lo and behold, here I am playing my third Major of the year.”
Woods believes the hard and fast conditions on the Scottish links this week could help him reproduce the tactics that won his third Claret Jug in 2006, when he hit just one driver at Royal Liverpool.
“There’s not a lot of opportunities to hit the driver just because the ball is going to be rolling 80 yards,” he said. “It’s just hard to keep the ball in play.
“It’s going to be an interesting test to see which clubs we’re going to be using off the tees, and a lot of it is dependent on which way the wind blows.
“I’m not going to hit that many long clubs off the tees.”
And Woods feels that may help him to contend for a fourth Open title on the links.
When asked if the Open was his best chance to add to his haul of Major titles, Woods said: “As far as long term, certainly, I would say yes because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links style golf course.
“And look what Tom (Watson) did at Turnberry at 59, I believe he was. So it’s possible. Greg (Norman) was there at Birkdale, somewhere around 53, 54. It certainly can be done.
“You get to places like Augusta National, where it’s just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately. That’s just the way it goes. But links style golf course, you can roll the ball. So distance becomes a moot point on a links style golf course.
“I’ve always loved playing links golf. It’s my favourite type of golf to play.”