Tiger Woods, LIV Golf, Rory McIlroy and St. Andrews

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Tiger Woods, a 15-time Major champion, called St Andrews his “favourite course in the world” when he announced he would play at the 150th Open after returning to competitive golf at the Masters in April.

There are many reasons for Woods to love it. He won his first claret jug here in 2000 when he won by a whopping 8 shots and completed the career grand slam. His 19-under 72-hole total was a record for any major. Remarkably, he did not hit a single shot into a bunker. It was his second of four straight major titles in what became known as the Tiger Slam.

Five years later, Woods arrived at St Andrews ranked number 2 in the world – behind Vijay Singh. Woods had not won a major in the previous two seasons and was retooling his momentum under new coach Hank Haney. But Woods took the lead in the first round with a 6-under 66 and never looked back on a wire-to-wire win. It was his 10th win in a major championship.

That brings us to this week, where Woods will be at the center of every discussion. But there are other storylines as well. We’ll walk you through the biggest of the week:

What can we expect from Tiger this week?

It’s clear his game isn’t anywhere near what it used to be as he continues to recover from serious injuries sustained in a car crash on February 23, 2021. He has only played seven rounds of golf this season, including his worst finishes at the Masters and PGA Championship. Considering where he was just 17 months ago, it’s probably more remarkable that he made the cut at those two majors, even though he retired after 54 holes of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills due to pain in his surgically repaired right leg .

Woods, 46, appeared to be wondering if this would be his last start at The Open at St Andrews.

“This is quite a historic Open that we’re going to play,” Woods told reporters in Ireland last week. “I’m lucky to be a part of the past champions who won there and [I] I want to play there again and I don’t know when they will ever come back as long as I can still play at a high level. I want to be able to try at least one more time at a high level.”

Given Woods’ current health and the fact that he missed the US Open with a problem with his right leg, it comes as a surprise that he walked 18 holes on both Saturday and Sunday. Woods and Justin Thomas ran 18 holes Saturday night, mostly chipping and putting, and then played a full practice round less than 12 hours later on Sunday.

St. Andrews isn’t as hilly as Augusta National or Southern Hills, but Woods has plenty of waves to tackle. The ground is also particularly hard. Will it be an easier walk for him?

“I can see both sides,” Thomas said. “It’s definitely flatter, but it’s definitely more whimsical. You have a lot more strange steps. But he’s the only one who can answer that.”

The LIV Effect

The LIV Golf/PGA Tour controversy has dominated the season, but the R&A is hoping to take a break at The Open this week. So much so that R&A rep Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, didn’t invite a two-time Open winner to St Andrews for the Celebrations of Champions or Champions Dinner this week.

There will still be plenty of LIV players in the field, including former Open winners Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen, and runners-up Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia.

Defending Open champion Collin Morikawa said players were tired of answering questions about LIV Golf.

“I could say I’m the defending champion at the 150th Open at St Andrews,” said Morikawa at the Scottish Open. “Tiger Woods is playing again. I mean does it get better? Its hard. It’s hard to beat that.”

Most LIV players have seen their world rankings plummet since the first LIV event in London on June 9-11. Mickelson has fallen from 72nd to 92nd, Johnson has fallen from 15th to 18th and DeChambeau has fallen from 28th to 33rd.

On Sunday, the Guardian of London reported that LIV Golf officials planned to “call for its formal recognition in the world rankings” during a board meeting of the official world golf rankings on Wednesday.

The OWGR Board of Directors includes PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley.

McIlroy finally gets his chance

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy did not have a chance to defend his Open title when the event was last played at St Andrews in 2015 because he was forced to retire after suffering an ankle injury playing football.

In 2010, McIlroy reached the lowest round in a major in the first round at St. Andrews with a 9 under 63.

McIlroy goes into this game having played some of the best courses of his career. He has finished in the top 10 at each of the three majors this season: second at the Masters solo, eighth at the PGA Championship, and fifth at the US Open.

It is a great place for him to end his great drought. He has played in 29 majors since his last win at the PGA Championship in 2014.

“I can’t go to The Open and approach it like I have work to do on that golf course,” McIlroy told TheOpen.com. “You know, I feel like there’s enough pressure on me anyway without imposing any more on myself. But it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time.”

Can Scheffler find his form?

World No. 1 Scheffler is on track to earn PGA Tour Player of the Year honors. He won four times in six starts this spring, including his first major at the Masters in April. He hasn’t won since, but has placed second at the Charles Schwab Challenge (lost to Sam Burns in a playoff) and placed second at the US Open.

Scheffler missed the cut at the Scottish Open last week, the second time he has been absent from his last six starts over the weekend. He had never played St Andrews prior to Sunday’s practice round.

“Definitely learned a lot [at the Scottish Open]’ Scheffler said. “I had some trouble getting onto the greens, playing the bounce and judging stuff like that. I thought it would be firm if it was a little soft, and if I thought it was soft, it was a little firm. Stuck on the wrong side of things more often this week. go inside [The Open]If I clear a few things with the putter, I’m good to go.”

Last chance for a major

Xander Schauffele won the Scottish Open on Sunday, his second win in as many PGA Tour starts, having also won the Travelers Championship two weeks ago (he also clinched the 36-hole JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland last week). He is the sixth player in the past decade to compete in a Major and win in consecutive starts. McIlroy was the only one of the previous five to win a major at the 2014 PGA Championship.

Schauffele will try to win his first major last season. Fifth in the world, he is now the second tallest player in the world without a major championship win. Among the players without a major, only Patrick Cantlay (fourth) ranks ahead of him. Other figures who will be looking to win their first Major: Cameron Smith (sixth), Viktor Hovland (ninth) and Burns (11th).

Will Zlatoris, who has finished second in three starts in nine majors, will also be looking for his first and his first PGA Tour win.

Will the wind blow?

Golf fans who were hoping for cool weather and tricky conditions at The Open are unlikely to get their wish. Temperatures were unusually warm over the weekend, with Monday’s forecast calling for highs in the mid-70s before cooling slightly ahead of Thursday’s opening round.

Winds of 24-32 km/h are expected to come in constantly from the west/southwest, so it doesn’t seem like the churning winds off the North Sea that have frustrated players for centuries will be a big factor.

Of course, Scotland’s weather is rarely predictable. So that doesn’t mean that the conditions will be easy for even the best players in the world.

If the wind isn’t blowing the scores could be very, very low because the Old Course doesn’t play as long as it used to.

“I think it could be kind of the opposite,” Thomas said. “”The fairways are already fixed. If the greens end up becoming caked and solid like the fairways where you might place those pins, you won’t be able to get very close to them. It will take a lot of discipline, patience and quick-wittedness.”

Can Jordan Spieth compete again?

Spieth, the 2017 Open winner at Royal Birkdale, has never missed the cut in eight starts at The Open and has four top 10 finishes, including solo runners-up in 2021. He calls The Open at St Andrews “arguably that best golf tournament we play.”

“I’m just thinking about the story, playing in the city, the idea that depending on the day it could be the easiest place or the hardest place we play,” Spieth said. “Maybe I just remember growing up certain, and that’s how the holes, the kind of scenic holes that start and end, really hold on.”

In Spieth’s last start at The Open at St Andrews in 2015, he was attempting to win his third straight Major after winning the Masters and US Open. He narrowly missed a playoff won by Zach Johnson and finished in fourth place.

“It was a really special tournament for me in 2015 trying to get a third straight and just kind of an audience you know the putt I made on 16 and kind of finish it’s got It was really fun to take part in this major and have a chance of winning,” said Spieth.

Record attendance expected

The R&A announced in April that a record 290,000 fans are expected in St Andrews this week. There have been more than 1.3 million ticket requests and tickets issued will surpass the 239,000 that watched Woods win his first Claret Jug on the Old Course in 2000.

The R&A announced that a record 80,000 fans will attend the four days of practice, surpassing the 61,000 who saw them at Royal Portrush in 2019. About 20% of general admission tickets were given to fans under the age of 25, including more than 20,000 free tickets to children under 16.

Due to an ongoing industrial dispute, the R&A has advised fans against traveling to St Andrews by train.

https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/34223767/tiger-woods-liv-golf-rory-mcilroy-st-andrews-everything-need-know-open Tiger Woods, LIV Golf, Rory McIlroy and St. Andrews

Emma Bowman

USTimesPost.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimespost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button