Woods’ chances talked up as Ladbrokes go ‘Top Price’ on Tiger for The Open
A healthy Woods is expecting the wind to be a big factor this week at The Open.
With less than 24 hours to go until the 141st Open Championship tees off at Royal Lytham and St Annes on the Lancashire coast, Tiger Woods has reiterated his belief that he can once more gain the winning thread at Major championships, while long time rival Phil Mickelson has expressed his belief that Woods is returning to the kind of form that saw dominate the game.
With Open anticipation reaching fever pitch, Ladbrokes are now offering punters an industry top price of 10/1 that Tiger can record his 15th Major championship success this week at Lytham.
American Ryder Cup teammates Woods and Mickelson (33/1 Outright) have often had a prickly relationship in the past, but the left hander is predicting that Woods may be close to regaining the kind of form that saw him regularly overwhelm opponents.
Asked if he could envisage any player hogging the limelight like Woods once did Mickelson gave an intriguing response.
“I think that 16 years ago nobody thought we would have the same kind of dominance we had in the game that Jack Nicklaus provided in his career,” Lefty said ahead of the Open.
“And then along came Tiger, so I would never rule it out. I don’t see anybody in the game today playing at the level that he has played at – and is currently starting to play at again.”
Woods himself (11/5 to be Top American Player this week) believes more major success will follow as long as he is able to put himself in contention. Having endured a tough time with injuries, he believes he is now in a position to do that again, as he sets about bridging a four-year gap since his incredible US Open play-off win over Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines.
“I just try and put myself there (in contention). I think if I continue putting myself there enough times then I’ll win major championships,” the three-time Open Champion said.
“First of all, I had to go through that whole process of just getting healthy again. Being banged up and missing Majors because of it over a couple of years wasn’t a whole lot of fun. I think I missed four Majors just because I was injured. I figure if I’m healthy, then I can prepare properly and I can get myself there.”
Woods is one of sixteen former champions in the field this week, and he tops the Ladbrokes market in that field at even money. A win this week would see Woods return to his former world number one ranking but he is acutely aware of the challenge that lies ahead on an ever changing Lytham layout, where he believes wind could be a huge factor.
“It changes the whole golf course,” he added. “On seven (par five) I hit driver, seven-iron one day and the next day I hit driver, three-wood and a wedge. It will be interesting to see how it turns out for the rest of the week.”