Woods back at The Open, sets sights on victory

  • AFP, Hoylake
  • Updated: Jul 17, 2014 00:17 IST

Tiger Woods returns to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs at Hoylake this week, as he attempts, in the 143rd British Open, to resurrect a career blighted by injury.

It was at the Royal Liverpool links course in 2006 that Woods won the 12th of his 14 major titles just weeks after the death of his father Earl.

It was a superbly crafted performance as the American tamed a course made fiery and fast by hot, sunny conditions.

He won by two strokes at 18-under par as he continued relentlessly on his lifelong quest to match the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus.

Life changed
Woods seemed unstoppable, but then, three years later, it all went pear-shaped as years of swing strain on his leg, arm and back muscles made him pay a painful cost for his success and then his marriage broke up after a shameful, public exposure of his marital infidelities.

Coming back to Hoylake for the first time since 2006, the question marks that surround Woods are as pertinent as ever before.

He has not won a major in six years and he has played only one tournament since having back surgery at the end of March, missing the cut at Congressional outside Washington last month.

But such is his allure and talent that no-one — players or fans — are writing off his chances.

"Well it's eight years on. My life has certainly changed since then," said Woods, who arrived at Hoylake earlier than usual on Saturday to begin his preparations for the year's third major tournament.

"My life is very different than it was then. And then on top of that, this is a different golf course than what we played in '06. It was hot, ball was flying. It was very dusty. Now, we're making ball marks on the greens, which we weren't doing then.

"When I played on Saturday it was running, it was fast. But on Sunday — with the rain it just didn't move. The balls were checking. It played a little bit longer."

The 38-year-old world number seven insists that he is pain-free for the first time in years and that he has a 15th major title firmly in his sights.

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