The world’s former no 1 golfer Tiger Woods has said he’s excited to be back at the Home of Golf and says he can win the Open championship.
Speaking at a packed press conference in St Andrews this morning, Tiger seemed cheery and happy to take questions from the media.
Asked how he felt about his return to Fife, Tiger, who won the Open in St Andrews in 2000, said he was only too familiar with the difficulties weather conditions can pose - given that the forecast for the end of the week is dismal.
He said: “I’ve always loved this golf course, from the first time I played it back in ‘95, so it’s just something special about it. It’s nice to be out there
on the course and see it and feel it again, to be able to hit all the shots.
“You know, it’s playing a little bit differently than we’ve had in previous Opens, or the previous Opens that I’ve played in. It’s a little bit softer and I’m sure it’s
going to get even softer with the forecast for Friday.
Commenting on why the Old Course is so special he added: “Well, I just love the creativity. You have to be able to hit all different type of shots. You now, the first thing I ever heard about St Andrews is that all you do is hit it as hard as you can and aim left.
“That’s basically not how you play the golf course. You need to have the right angles. Over the years of learning how to play the golf course under all different type of
wind conditions, it changes greatly, and it’s based on angles. You have to put the ball on certain sides of the fairways in order to get the ball close.
“To me that type of thinking and the strategy that goes into that is something I’ve always loved. Yeah, you can run the ball up here on a lot of the holes. It won’t really be doing that this week because it’s a little bit softer, but still, you have that option.”
With a wry smile he added, “You know, a five-degree wind change here changes the whole golf course completely. I’ve always found that very fascinating.”
Asked about his love of St Andrews, he said: “It’s the Home of Golf, we all know that. But to me it’s brilliant, how you can play it so many different ways. I’ve always wanted to play it one time - before I die I want to play it one time backwards. I want to play from 1 to 17, 2 to 16, so forth and so on. I’d love to be able to play it that way, just one time. I think that would be just a blast because I can see how certain bunkers - why would they put that there? And then if you play it backwards, you see it. It’s very apparent. That’s totally in play. That one day would be a lot of fun to be able to do.”
Looking ahead to the tournament, he said he will be nervous but that’s because he cares about what he does.
“That first tee shot, I’m nervous. I care about what I do, and when I’m not nervous is the day I quit. That means I really don’t care what I’m doing out there. I want to feel
the rush. I want to feel the nerves. It’s just a matter of how do you handle it. I think I’ve done a pretty good job over my career of handling it and winning events here
“I just enjoy playing tournament golf, and I enjoy competing at the highest level against the best players in the world.”
Commenting again on his previous experience of playing the Old Course, he said: “Playing in the different winds and having to hit the different shots, shaping shots completely differently from one day to the next on the same hole, it does help seeing the golf course different winds.
“Over the years, this is my fifth Open here, and I’ve seen a lot of different winds. I’ve played the Dunhill Cup here in ‘98, so even seeing the greens frozen, we had to go back out there and play, that was quite interesting.”