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He has contended a handful of times, most recently three weeks ago at the National outside Washington, where he flirted with contention before finishing fourth, albeit against a pretty weak field by PGA Tour standards.
"This is the oldest tournament we have in our sport". That was a lot of fun to go there for the first time, so I'm a lot more relaxed heading into this week.
"I think sometimes I need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and just happy to be here", he said. After not making an appearance at a major in 2016 and 2017, Tiger is on pace to play in all four of golf's most prestigious tournaments in 2018. He was T32 at the Masters and missed the cut at the U.S. Open.
Standing in McIlroy's way is a course that was dubbed "Carnasty" in 1999 when The Open returned after a 24-year absence. The winning score in 1999 was 6 over, and eventual victor Paul Lawrie shot exactly one score better than 73.
Tiger Woods has said the Open puts less emphasis on power, a good thing for a golfer entering middle age.
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This week, the rough is a little less severe - but the lack of rain in the area has left the fairways parched and players struggling to keep balls on the fairways.
"It's still a major championship with the best players in the world and a really tough golf course".
"The bunkers are causing me to not hit drivers as opposed to being in the rough, " said Justin Thomas. "Creativity plays such an important role". One of my favorites is Poulter, who has turned his career around this year and has now recorded seven-straight Top 30 finishes. His Open history is insane good with four top-10's including a win and a runner-up as well as only missing one cut during that period. US Open champion Brooks Koepka might hit as many as nine drivers. A certain shot you think is a wonderful shot down the middle of the fairway could bounce some weird way. I obviously remember that week very fondly for different reasons.
"Distance becomes a moot point on a links golf course".
"It's just not going to happen with wind conditions and pin placements".
Adam Scott would be the fairytale victor this week, having come so close so many times including 2012 when his four, consecutive bogeys to close at Royal Lytham saw him throw away a title that was his, gifting the win to Ernie Els. But Rose has lagged behind the leaders at The Open, joining Johnson in 54th place previous year.
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But the world number three has been typically meticulous in planning for this latest tilt.
But he feels his play is better than his scores are indicating with his last top 10 coming in March. I was used to having one or two people inside the ropes, but now there were 30 or 40.
Fox has a long wait until his 3.32pm tee time (2.32am Friday NZT), 11 minutes after Woods lets fly alongside Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
England's Tommy Fleetwood get a feel for one of Carnoustie's infamous bunkers in the leadup to the Open Championship. Lawrie, who used to be coached by Locke's father, is missing because of foot and back injuries.
"But he's a wonderful person, or just as good a person as he is a golfer, I guess, because he's obviously one of the best players in the world and one of the best players that's come out over the last few years".
Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open and although he has the links golf experience, it would be a remarkable story were he to win.
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"Look, I was on a nice run there from 2011 to 2014". The breeze freshens in the afternoon, getting up to around 20-25mph. It was wet and a little bit windy, but it looks like it will be baked out and warm.