CARNOUSTIE – Tiger Woods is taking inspiration from Greg Norman and Tom Watson and believes he’s got time to add to his tally of Claret Jug victories.
Without a major win since the US Open 10 years ago and a tour title since 2013, Woods is just happy to be back at The Open for the first time since 2015.
Four back surgeries since 2014 have left him in a more reflective place about a storied career that - whatever lies ahead - has redefined his sport.
And the three-time Champion Golfer, now 42, insists there is no rush to add to his tally of 14 major titles while admitting this event will likely be his best chance in the years ahead.
Greg Norman, then aged 53, famously finished in a tie for third at Muirfield in 2008 while Tom Watson was second one year later at Turnberry - edged out by Stewart Cink in a play-off just a few weeks before turning 60.
And that gives Woods plenty of reason for optimism in the years ahead, providing he can stay fit and healthy.
“It’s my best chance of winning another major because it’s my next chance but I would also say, long-term, this is a tournament where I hope I can remain competitive,” said Woods at Tuesday's press conference.
As I get older I can still get great distance on this sort of course. Creativity plays such an important role too, look at what Greg Norman or Tom Watson did. There’s a reason Tom won five of these and nearly won one at 60 because he was such a creative golfer.
“I’ve always loved links golf, it’s my favourite type to play and I love the challenge of it.”
Woods won his first Claret Jug 18 years ago at St Andrew's - an eight-stroke demolition of the field not witnessed in the previous century. Another win followed at the Home of Golf in 2005, followed 12 months later with a victory at Royal Liverpool.
This will be his fourth visit to Carnoustie, renewing a love affair that started as an amateur playing the Scottish Open in 1995. And, for Woods, just being able to feel competitive with the world’s best represents a big step forward.
“There were points when I never thought I’d be back at The Open again,” he added.
“It’s great watching on TV but it’s even better being here in person. Come back to Carnoustie is such a blessing. There were times when I didn’t think this was possible but here I am in my third major of the year.
“Each tournament I feel a bit better because I’m starting to play golf again. I feel I’ve got a better understanding of my game now. Everything is going just a little bit better, so who knows.”
African News Agency (ANA)