Open Golf: Tiger Woods explains his Muirfield strategy

The best bits from the World No 1's Tuesday press conference...

The course

It’s playing really fast out there. The golf course has got a little bit of speed to it. Today is a little bit slower. I think somebody might have put some water on it last night. But it’s pretty quick, and I’m sure it will get really quick by the weekend.

The strategy

This golf course is playing similar to Hoylake in 2006. It’s quick. And so far I’ve played a couple of days now, three days, and I’ve only hit a couple of drivers here. I remember Jason Day was playing with me the other day and he hadn’t hit a driver yet. Some of the holes, 4-iron was going 280. 3-iron is going a little over 300 yards. So it’s quick. That’s on this wind.

So obviously it could change. Like what we had in ’02, it could come out of the northeast and it could be a totally different golf course. Downwind holes, I’ve hit 3-wood, I’ll run probably close to 80, 90 yards. And on 17 yesterday I hit 3-iron, 3-iron over the green.

The confidence

I feel very good about my game. I felt very, very good going into Major championships. I’ve had a pretty good year this year so far; won four times. Even though I haven’t won a Major championship in five years, I’ve been there in a bunch of them where I’ve had chances. I just need to keep putting myself there and eventually I’ll get some.


The 2002 storm

That was the worst I’ve ever played in. I think because of the fact that we weren’t prepared for it, that no one was prepared for it. There was a slight chance of maybe a shower (laughter). Obviously the forecast was very wrong on that. So none of us were prepared clothing-wise.

A lot of guys just had golf shirts and a rain jacket, and that was it. That was all they had. I think that’s one of the biggest things. The windchill was in the 30s. The umbrella became useless, because the wind was blowing so hard, you couldn’t control the umbrella.

It was just a cold, cold day. We played through probably maybe 13, 14 holes of it. And then it started easing up towards the end. And by then the damage had already been done to my round.
I’ve played three days now and I’ve only hit a couple of drivers

The quality of Muirfield winners

I think it’s the quality of the golf course. I mean you have to hit the ball well here. You have to be able to shape your shots. I think it’s very similar to look at the list of winners at our last Major, U.S. Open, Merion. Again, all wonderful ball strikers.

And I think this is the same here. I mean, look at the list of past champions. The number of Hall of Famers that there are who have won here. I think it just goes to show you you really have to hit the ball well. You can’t just hit one way.

You have to shape it both ways and really control the shots. You’re not playing, like you are at St. Andrews out and back or Troon. You’re playing almost in kind of a circle, in a sense, because you’ve got so many different angles and so many different winds, you have to be able to maneuver the ball both ways.


The (relative) Major drought

It’s just a shot here and there. It’s making a key up-and-down here or getting a good bounce here, capitalizing on an opportunity here and there. For instance, this year at Augusta was one of those examples. I really played well, and a good shot ended up having a bad break.

So it’s a shot here and a shot there. It’s not much. It could happen on the first day, it could happen on the last day. But it’s turning that tide and getting the momentum at the right time or capitalizing on our opportunity.

The elbow injury

The elbow feels good. It’s one of the good things of taking the time off to let it heal and get the treatment and therapy on it. The main reason was that coming over here the ground is going to be hard, obviously. And I’m going to need that elbow to be good.

And just in case the rough was — well, reports were it was going to be high, and it was going to be lush. I needed to have this thing set and healed. And everything is good to go.

Previous article
Next article