Wimbledon offers Woods clue to conditions ahead of Open

Tiger Woods is looking forward to what he calls “my favourite major championship” – one which he hopes will finally take him closer to Jack Nicklaus’s record.

Woods was expected to arrive at Royal Lytham sometime over the weekend ahead of the Open starting on Thursday.

Before flying from America he wrote his first website blog for three months and reminded his fans why he is such a fan of links golf. “You can have so many different weather conditions. You just don’t know,” Woods said.

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“That’s one of the unique things about the British Open and why it’s my favourite major championship.

“It’s the only tournament besides the sandbelt courses in Australia that we can actually use the ground as a friend and bounce the ball into the greens.

“Modern golf is all up in the air.”

Woods has not added to his 14 majors since the 2008 US Open and so remains four behind Nicklaus. He is returning now, however, to a course where he does have a share of a record.

Back in 1996 and only 20 at the time, he shot a three-under-par total of 281 that matches Leeds’s Iain Pyman’s best total by an amateur in Open history. It has still to be bettered.

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Woods, who missed last year’s event at Sandwich through injury, returns having had four victories in the last eight months.

The most recent, however, was followed by a missed cut at the Greenbrier Classic just over a week ago, but that failure has not dented his confidence too much.

“I didn’t play poorly,” Woods wrote. “I had trouble gauging distances with my short irons and it was tough for me to adjust to the greens.

“They were slower than I expected and had a lot of wobble in them.

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“Now I’m focused on the British Open. This will be my third visit to Royal Lytham and St Annes, where I tied for 22nd in 1996 and tied for 25th in 2001.

“I like the golf course, but I know they have made some changes since we played there. I think they lengthened a few holes, so it will play different.

“Plus in ‘01 it was pretty dry and firm. They’ve had a very wet summer, as we saw at Wimbledon, and the golf course is pretty soft.

Weather plays such a huge role in the tournament. It will be interesting to see how the course is set up.

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“It’s different, because we’re not really on the water – we’re slightly inland. That train track that runs right along the golf course gets a lot of use that week.”

He added: “Each British Open has its own little quirks. For instance, Hoylake was burnt out, some years at St Andrews the wind blew hard, this year it will be a little bit softer than it normally plays. But we don’t know if it’s going to rain or blow, so that adds different challenges as the week develops.”