Tuesday 16 January 2018

Tiger makes light of being denied his early morning practice round

Tiger Woods of the U.S. speaks during a news conference following a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship at Muirfiel
Tiger Woods of the U.S. speaks during a news conference following a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship at Muirfiel

Phil Casey

Tiger Woods today made light of being prevented from making his usual early start to his Open preparations at Muirfield.

Woods' tendency to start his practice rounds almost as soon as the sun is up has upset spectators in the past, with customers paying for tickets but often finding that he had finished and left the premises before they had arrived.

But yesterday the world number one had to follow the rules which state that the course is not open until 7am after attempting to tee off 10 minutes earlier.

"I like getting up early, especially over here where the sun comes up at four or five in the morning," Woods said. "It's hard to sleep in.

"Peter (Dawson, chief executive of the R&A) was explaining that he is having the groundstaff cutting it (the course) from 1-18 to get used to it for the championship and that's why he wants us off the first tee at seven. I totally understand it."

Woods has not played since the US Open at Merion last month, where he exacerbated an elbow injury first suffered during his victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass in May.

But asked if yesterday's incident had disrupted his preparation, the 37-year-old added: "I was always just going to play nine holes each day. That was the plan, not to push it in the amount of holes, especially on this hard ground.

"I have been playing a lot at home but it's Florida, it rains every day and the ground is soft. Here it's totally different conditions.

"The elbow feels good. The main reason for taking that time off was that coming over here the ground is going to be hard and I need the elbow to be good, and reports were that the rough was going to be high. Everything is good to go."

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