It’s the question on many minds as Tiger returns to the major he nearly won last year and where his creativity, shot shaping and wind-management give him an edge over less-seasoned players.
But as he goes from Pebble Beach to The Open without a start, it’s reasonable to wonder if just waking up at 1 am is enough to get ready. David Feherty thinks so, sort of. Pat Ralph at Golf.com with Feherty’s comments.
“He sticks to a plan,” Feherty said. “I think a good deal of it will depend upon the weather, which I suspect being from there may not be great. We may get some real Open Championship weather. Personally, I kind of hope we do. There’s something traditional or special about playing golf in bad weather. And Tiger typically is not renowned as a bad weather player. I don’t know what sort of shape his back is in for that kind of thing, but I know Freddy [Couples] suffered with it over the years. But the only mistake I’ve ever made about Tiger Woods is underestimating him. He’s an unknown quantity at the moment.”
Bob Harig takes a deeper look into the numbers and considers Tiger’s chances at Portrush for ESPN.com, noting that Woods has never played the week before The Open as a professional. There was this headline-grabber last week from Padraig Harrington:
"I personally think if you're serious about winning The Open, you've got to be playing tournament golf at least before it," two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington said before last week's Irish Open. "You'd rather be playing links golf and being in a tournament than just [playing] on your own, so if you're serious about trying to win the Open, you should be playing at least one, if not two, of the events running into it.
"I was always mightily impressed when Tiger Woods would play in a major without playing the week before. I'd be a basket case if I didn't play the week before."
It should be noted that even when Woods went over early and hung out in Ireland, he was usually playing golf at an inland course and not on a links buddies trip.