Woods says elbow fine, no loss of confidence
GULLANE, Scotland (AP) — Tiger Woods said his ailing left elbow is “good to go” for the British Open, and he insisted Tuesday there’s no loss of confidence despite the longest stretch of his career without a major title.
Woods held his regular session with the media ahead of the British Open at Muirfield, where he resumes his quest for a 15th major title. Once considered a lock to break Jack Nicklaus’ record, he hasn’t won one of golf’s biggest events since the 2008 U.S. Open.
“I feel very good about my game,” Woods said. “I feel very, very good going into major championships. I’ve had a pretty good year this year so far — won four times. Even though I haven’t won a major championship in five years, I’ve been there in a bunch of them where I’ve had chances. I just need to keep putting myself there and eventually I’ll get some.”
The biggest question mark for Woods at this major is his health.
He strained his elbow at last month’s U.S. Open, playing in visible pain while struggling to a 32nd-place finish. He hasn’t played since Merion, even skipping his own tournament to give the injury time to heal.
“The elbow feels good,” Woods said. “It’s one of the good things of taking the time off to let it heal and get the treatment and therapy on it. The main reason was that coming over here, the ground is going to be hard, obviously. And I’m going to need that elbow to be good. And just in case the rough was, well, reports were it was going to be high, and it was going to be lush. I needed to have this thing set and healed. And everything is good to go.”
Woods has dealt with several injuries, a swing change and major distractions in his personal life since winning at Torrey Pines five years ago.
Not like he hasn’t been in contention. Woods has eight top-10 finishes in the majors since his last victory, but he hasn’t been able to break his drought. Now he’s returning to a course where he shot his worst round as a professional, an 81 in miserable conditions during the third round of the 2002 British Open.
“It’s just a shot here and there,” he said. “It’s making a key up-and-down here or getting a good bounce there, capitalizing on an opportunity here and there.”
Woods is again the world’s top-ranked player, and no one comes close to his 13 PGA Tour victories over the last five years. But he knows better than anyone that major titles are what will determine his legacy. These are the tournaments he gears his entire season around, the ones he wants more than any others.
In his eyes, it’s just a matter of time before he wins another one.
“It’s not much,” Woods said. “It could happen on the first day, it could happen on the last day. But it’s turning that tide and getting the momentum at the right time or capitalizing on our opportunity. That’s what you have to do to win major championships.”
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