With one more win, Tiger Woods will tie Sam Snead for most career PGA TOUR victories at 82. Each time Tiger tees it up, we’ll take a look at his chances for that particular week.
Here’s a CHASING 82 preview entering this week’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
Difficult to say what his form is, given the fact that his last competitive start was the U.S. Open. From that final round to Thursday’s first round at Royal Portrush, 32 days will have passed. And in the 95 days since winning the Masters in mid-April, he has played just 10 competitive rounds – a missed cut at the PGA Championship, a T-9 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, and a T-21 at the U.S. Open.
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But that’s not to say Woods has avoided preparing for the Open. Earlier this month, Nike posted a video in which Woods discusses waking up at 1 a.m. ET in order to prep for the time change for the Open, which is five hours ahead.
“If you want to succeed, if you want to get better, if you want to win, if you want to accomplish your goals, it all starts with getting up early in the morning,” Woods explained in the video.
Although Woods has never played a competitive event in Northern Ireland, he has played practice rounds there while prepping for previous Opens. But this will be the first time he’s seen Royal Portrush.
“I’ve only played (Royal) County Down, I’ve never been up to Portrush and I’m looking forward to getting up there and taking a look at the golf course and trying to figure it out,” Woods said. “I’ll get there early and do a little bit of homework – see if the golf course is going to be dry, fast or not.
“Hopefully I’ll get practice rounds with different winds to try and get a feel for the golf course.”
Woods is making his 21st start in the Open Championship and has won three times:
2000 – At St. Andrews, Woods won with a final score of 19 under, eight strokes ahead of Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els. The 19 under was the lowest score, in relation to par, of any major winner (eventually surpassed by Jason Day at 21 under at the 2015 PGA Championship). Woods’ win also completed the career Grand Slam. “It may be years before I fully appreciate it, but I’m inclined to believe that winning the Open at the Home of Golf is the ultimate achievement in the sport,” Woods said.
2005 – At St. Andrews, Woods won by five strokes over Colin Montgomerie, leading wire to wire. It was the 10th major win of his career. “When I first started playing the Tour, I didn’t think I’d have this many majors before the age of 30,” said the then-29-year-old Woods. “ There’s no way. No one ever has.”
2006 – At Royal Liverpool, Woods won by two strokes over Chris DiMarco, an emotional victory as it was his first major win after the death of his father Earl two months earlier. “To win your first tournament after my father had passed away, and for it to be a major championship, it makes it that much more special,” Woods said. “And mom was watching, I’m sure she was bawling her eyes out.” It was the first time a player had won consecutive Opens since Tom Watson in 1982-83.
Since his last win, Woods’ best finish was a T-3 at Royal Lytham in 2012. Last year at Carnoustie, he was in contention midway through the final round until a double bogey-bogey stretch on his back nine, eventually finishing T-6.