The Open Championship returns to St Andrews for the first time since 2010 Thursday. But has The Old Course really changed that much since Louis Oosthuizen last raised the Claret Jug there? Tiger Woods think so. In his first look since playing it five years ago, Woods was surprised to see green grass and slow fairways.
Woods spoke to ESPN.com and USA Today after playing three holes with five area junior players as part of a Nike-sponsored golf training camp early Saturday morning. Woods talked about having to adjust his game plan after being in country less than half a day.
“I was shocked,” Woods said. “I had seen photos of it a month ago. It was bone dry. It looked like it was going to be one of those dust bowls again; hard, fast, like the years I’ve played St Andrews. It’s changed. They got big rain and a lot of sun. It’s totally changed.
“I’m going to have to do a little bit of feel around the greens, my putting. I wasn’t expecting the firmness to be that soft. We made ball marks on the greens. I don’t ever remember making ball marks around this place.”
With a forecast that calls for more rain during the week, Woods said. “It’s not going to get any faster. It’ll be on the softer side for an Open.”
Woods is coming off a tie for 32nd at the Greenbrier, where he put together his best tournament in more than a year. He shot a final-round 67 without making a bogey and took away some much-needed confidence.
“I feel like everything’s coming around. I still need to get a feel for how this golf course is chasing. I wasn’t expecting it to be this soft. The shot selections I was working on last week and some of the trajectories I was envisioning on certain holes and certain winds and the ball chasing and what I need to do to make it move on the ground. It’s going to be different. It’s going to be more forced carries than I was expecting coming into the event.”
Take a look at this video of Woods and other past Champion Golfers of the Year talking about the Claret Jug. I hope it fires you up as much as it did me:
Portions of this post courtesy of ESPN.com.