While Justin Thomas insisted it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tiger Woods compete in the Open Championship, three-time winner Nick Faldo erased the prospect of a 46-year-old Woods’ 16th major success at St Andrews. Faldo even floated the idea of this Open which brought the curtain on the famous career of the American racer.
Woods and Thomas played a five-hour practice round on the Old Course on Sunday, with the former limping. Woods, who missed the US Open last month, is still showing the effects of a serious car crash in February last year. He did, however, sign in a nice way; Woods drove the green in the par-four 18th before watching a 20-foot eagle putt hang over the edge of the hole.
After that, Thomas talked about his close friend’s Open opportunity. “His swing still looks as good as ever,” said the US PGA champion. “Would I be surprised if he was challenged this week? Not. I’ve learned better than to challenge anything about him.”
Faldo wasn’t sure. The Englishman believes the scale of exertion required to win in a big game remains beyond Woods. “I don’t think there’s a chance, no,” Faldo said when asked on Sky Sports if Woods could win the Claret Jug. “Physically, he plays at Adare Manor [in last week’s JP McManus pro-am] and be in the wagon for a few days to rest the legs. His only physical challenge is walking the golf course and although St Andrews looks flat, there are so many winding waves running on the course, it will be a very physically demanding job for him.
“Even if Tiger is fit and strong, he doesn’t play much, and these kids [world’s top players] still young and strong. Who knows what we’ll get from Tiger, where he is mentally and what he’s thinking.
“If you are going to retire then this is the place to retire, but is it too early? What does he know and what does he believe about his feet or his golf game? What possibilities are out there? I don’t know. Tiger always keeps things very close to his chest. ”
Thomas said he had sought St Andrews insight from Woods, who has won two Opens at this venue. “A little,” said Thomas. “I understand he’ll be withholding some information but I’m trying to get as much out of him as possible because he’s been doing pretty well around this place.” Thomas, ranked 5th in the world, is widely expected to have a strong Open form.
He declared himself a huge St Andrews fan. “I like it here, it’s amazing,” said the 29-year-old. “This is very special. This is unique. This is the most correct Open link I have ever played. This is a fun place.
“I’ve never missed a productive cut like the Scottish Open on Friday because it’s great to come here and have two days of preparation.” Thomas played down widespread concerns that the Old Course could be separated by competitors, due to possible mild weather conditions and technological advances.
“Fairways are solid,” explains Thomas. “If the vegetables end up roasting and getting tough like fairways, with where they can put these pins, you’re not going to get too close to them. It’s going to take a lot of discipline, patience and shooting.”
In the famous Road Hole, the 17th, Thomas lands a car that has gone the wrong way in the grounds of the Old Course Hotel. The ball narrowly missed the former R&A chief executive, Peter Dawson, who at least saw the funny side of the incident.
Tiger Woods swing in St Andrews ‘looks as good as ever’, says Justin Thomas | Open
Source link Tiger Woods swing in St Andrews ‘looks as good as ever’, says Justin Thomas | Open