Would a Tiger win at The Open have been golf's greatest ever comeback?

Golf News

In a special Open edition Fourball, the NCG team discuss Tiger Woods form, Carnoustie as a venue, and the R&A's set-up

James: Were the R&A deliberately trying to make the course more friendly in light of the Shinnecock debacle? Did they need to water the greens so much? Wouldn’t it have been more fun if they weren’t able to zip it back with wedges?

Dan: I am no agronomist but I think the set-up understandably strayed on the side of caution in terms of leaving some moisture in the greens. Then of course we had a lot of rain on Friday morning. The thing that has been missing to date at Carnoustie has been wind – it’s barely reached 10mph so far this week, which is unheard of. That is all going to change tomorrow so let’s see how the course plays then with the greens drying out throughout the next 24 hours.

Mark: You wonder if they are still a bit spooked by the set-up in 1999. I love the set-up, there are plenty of big names up there, the scoring is spot on and the winning score might still be in single figures if the wind picks up. There are enough hazards and trouble spots without making the greens that much harder.

Alex: I’m sure they would freely admit that previous criticised major set-ups, including Shinnecock, were on their mind. Birdies everywhere – I loved it. The only person I want causing people to struggle at The Open is Mother Nature.

Alex: Just last year Tiger was having his spine fused back together. Victory at Carnoustie would be more impressive than Jack’s Green Jacket in ‘86, wouldn’t it?

James: Whether or not it would be more impressive is hard to say. Certainly more unexpected. I’d written Tiger off as a force in the majors at the start of the year as I didn’t think his body was going to cope. It was wrong to ever doubt his ability or his determination.

Dan: It would be the most jaw-dropping comeback since Hogan recovered from being run over by a bus in 1949. He went on to win five more majors, including the US Open the following year. At 46, Jack was four years older than Tiger is now but he hadn’t been through what Tiger has. Incidentally, the last round is going to be a very different story to anything we’ve seen so far in the championship with some wind forecast. I’m not convinced that suits Tiger, actually.

Mark: I walked the last few holes with Tiger and spent most of it wondering if this was better or not than what Tom Watson did. I concluded that, had both won, Watson was just the better story. As for Nicklaus just about, in Tiger’s favour. Nicklaus was somewhere he had won five times already and, although he had been written off, it was nothing like wondering whether he would ever play again.

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