Tiger Woods has a couple memories to draw from as he prepares for the Open Championship. In 2006, he won the Open at Hoylake by putting on one of the greatest ball-striking displays of his career. In 2008, he won the U.S. Open with limited preparation and a broken leg. Tiger can win this week because he has done it before.
During today’s press conference, Tiger spoke about the win at the ’06 Open Championship. His father, Earl Woods, had recently passed away, but Tiger felt his Pops was out there with him on Sunday. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it was every day, but certainly on Sunday I really felt that my Dad was with me on that one round. I said it back then in ’06 that it was like having my 15th club. I felt that type of at peace when I was out there.”
Woods also said his wins at the ’97 Masters, ’00 U.S. Open, ’00 Open Championship, and ’06 Open at Hoylake were similar because he was in control of his game.
It would be a surprise to many if Tiger shows up on Thursday firing on all cylinders. He had back surgery in late March, and he missed the cut at the Quicken Loans National in his first and only start since the procedure. However, Tiger is optimistic because his health is on an upward trajectory.
“Playing at Congressional was a big boost to me. The fact that I was able to go at it that hard, and hit it like that with no pain. It wasn’t like that the previous time I played. Playing at both the Honda and Doral I did not feel well, but to come back and be able to hit the ball as hard as I was able to hit it. I’ve gotten stronger since then, I’ve gotten more explosive, I’ve gotten faster since then. That’s going to be the case, I’m only going to get stronger and faster, which is great.”
With his body feeling well, Tiger will accept nothing short of winning the championship. In order to win, he must defeat a field that is more talented than ever.
“I think it gets harder every year, just because the fields get deeper. More guys with a chance to win. What did we have, 16, 17 straight first-time winners and more Major championship winners throughout that stretch. It’s just getting deeper. It’s getting harder to win. The margin is so much smaller. It’s only going to continue to be the case. Guys are going to get longer, they’re going to get faster. Guys who are coming out here are bigger, stronger, faster, more athletic.”
Good thing Tiger is healthy, and can compete with the game’s best once again.