Woods targets another major

Golf: British Open: American has plenty to play for after missing last years edition due to injury


Japan’s teen sensation Ryo Mishikawa will get to play alongside Tiger Woods in the first two rounds of the British Open Golf beginning on Thursday. Reuters

Twelve months ago the world number one was confined to his home in Orlando, Florida and experienced intense pain as he watched television coverage of Irishman Padraig Harrington's successful title defence.

"My day consisted of trying to get from the bed to the couch and then from there back to the bed," three-time British Open champion Woods told reporters on Tuesday.

"That was my day. I was going through probably some of the worst pain at the time. Just basically the two-and-a-half week mark and I was in pretty good pain."  Woods had knee surgery after clinching his 14th major title in a play-off for last year's US Open at Torrey Pines and was then sidelined from the game for eight months.

He returned to the PGA Tour for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in late February and has since triumphed three times in eight starts.

"It's been a tremendous success," Woods said of his 2009 campaign. "I remember looking at the year and just trying to get back playing, (thinking) hopefully I can play and hopefully at a high level.

"Looking at my situation at the beginning of the year, to have three wins, I wouldn't have thought that. Granted I haven't won a major but I've come close," added the 33-year-old American who tied for sixth at the US Masters in April before again sharing sixth place at last month's US Open.

"I've put myself in position to win the first few majors, I just haven't done it."

Woods has been grouped with Japan’s 17-year-old sensation Ryo Mishikawa and Britain's Lee Westwood for the first two rounds.

Woods is looking forward to tackling Turnberry's Ailsa course, which is staging the championship for the first time since Zimbabwe's Nick Price lifted the Claret Jug in 1994.
"It's in great shape, the rough is up a little bit and we haven't had the big winds yet," he said after playing 18 holes of practice with compatriot and good friend Mark O'Meara, the 1998 champion. We'll see how the weather holds out but, all in all, the golf course is just a fabulous golf course."

Turnberry has staged only three previous Opens but its list of winners oozes quality, a fact that does not surprise Woods.

"They were some of the best ball strikers," he said referring to Tom Watson (1977), Greg Norman (1986) and Price.

"At this golf course you can understand why. You really do have to hit your ball well here. You just can't fake it around this golf course. You just have to hit good golf shots."

Woods, who clinched his first British Open at St Andrews in 2000 before enjoying further success at St Andrews in 2005 and Hoylake in 2006, has long relished the challenge of links course golf. I fell in love with it right away," he said.

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