Published: Tue, July 17, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Open Championship: 9 Favorites to Watch at Carnoustie

Open Championship: 9 Favorites to Watch at Carnoustie

That experience had him downplaying any huge adjustment, but he did admit that "we have a long way to go, and I have to spend the next few days getting a feel for this type of golf again".

Five-time major victor Phil Mickelson tees off shortly after 08:00 with defending champion Jordan Spieth starting his bid for back-to-back titles at 09:58 alongside Britain's Olympic champion Justin Rose and big-hitting Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand.

Woods, now 42 years old, remains plenty long off the tee; he ranks 28th in driving distance with a 304.9-yard average.

"You're going to see a lot of guys hit the ball a long way without a lot of club", Woods said.

Here are 9 favorites to watch this week in The Open Championship at Carnoustie.

As for adjusting to the links style of play and learning how far to hit shots on each hole, Woods said: "It is mainly trajectory".

Fourteen-times major champion Woods, who won the British Open in 2000, 2005 and 2006, has missed the last two editions because of a back problem.

"I grew up in Southern California where it's kikuyu grass; nothing rolls".

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Woods is also aware of the need to be creative, rather than powerful, to enjoy success on links courses, and he is using Tom Watson's spectacular performance at Turnberry in 2009 as an inspiration.

"It stuck with me", Tiger said. This is our oldest championship, and to come back to such a historic site just brings back so many great memories. "I'm going to spend a little time trying to get a pace for it". A certain shot that is hit [and] you think is a wonderful shot down the middle of the fairway could bounce some weird way. So it's possible. Greg Norman was there at Birkdale [in 2008] at I think about 54-ish, somewhere around there 53, 54. My feels are much better than they were at the beginning of the year and I feel like I have a better understanding of my game and my body and my swing.

"Right now the fairways are faster than the greens", he said.

'There are not a lot of opportunities to hit the driver because the ball will be rolling 80 yards so it will be hard to keep the ball in play: even hitting four and five irons are running 50 to 60 yards. But he realizes at some point that his power will drop off.

"You get to places like Augusta National where it's just a big ballpark and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately". "That's just the way it goes".

"Nobody could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did", said Padraig Harrington, who won The Open at Carnoustie in 2007.

The course is already rife with examples of players finding the ball going extraordinary distances, whether it be due to the wind or the firm and fast conditions.

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