Woods draws inspiration from Watson, Norman’s Open near-misses

Tiger Woods of US the during practice on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Updated 16 July 2019

Woods draws inspiration from Watson, Norman’s Open near-misses

  • The American admitted the effort needed to get over that major hurdle again had taken its toll

PORTRUSH: Tiger Woods said on Tuesday he is confident his body can hold up under the rigors of links golf this week as he bids for a 16th major title at the British Open.

The 43-year-old, who capped one of sport’s greatest-ever comebacks with victory at the Masters in April, will be playing in just his fourth tournament since winning the green jacket.

With cold, wet weather predicted for all four days as the British Open returns to Northern Ireland and Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951, Woods’ troublesome back could come under extra strain. But he was keen to point out tricky conditions may also play into his hands, as they did for Tom Watson when he lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink at the age of 59 at Turnberry in 2009, and Greg Norman when he finished third at Birkdale in 2008 aged 53.

“It’s just part of, unfortunately, dealing with the procedures I’ve had, and being a little bit older,” said Woods, who returned to elite golf in December 2017 after spinal fusion surgery.

“It just doesn’t move quite as fast when it’s a little bit cooler.

“But the great thing is playing in an Open Championship, you can do it. Look what Tom did at Turnberry, what Greg did at Birkdale. The golf course is fast enough, even if you don’t have the speed to carry the ball.

“You just have to navigate the bunkers and navigate around the golf course. And that’s true, that’s understanding how to play an Open Championship.”

Woods’ fifth Masters triumph was his first major victory since the 2008 US Open, but the success relaunched his bid to chase down Jack Nicklaus’ record tally of 18 titles.

The American admitted the effort needed to get over that major hurdle again had taken its toll.

“Getting myself into position to win the Masters was —  it took a lot out of me. That golf course puts so much stress on the system,” he said.

“Seeing my kids there, they got a chance to experience The Open Championship last year after their dad took the lead, and then made a few mistakes. And this time they got to see me win a major championship.

“So it was a very emotional week and one that I keep reliving.”

Woods is now ranked fifth in the world, but has not threatened at either of the last two majors, won by Brooks Koepka and Gary Woodland.

But he does still feel the Open and links golf gives him the best chance of closing in on Nicklaus’ haul of victories.

Woods opens his campaign at 1410 GMT on Thursday, playing alongside England’s Matt Wallace and 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed.


Spanish driver Carlos Sainz takes third Dakar Rally title after winning Saudi edition

Updated 5 min 10 sec ago

Spanish driver Carlos Sainz takes third Dakar Rally title after winning Saudi edition

  • Asked about defending his title next year Sainz said: “It’s too early to think about it, let me enjoy this”
  • He has now won the Dakar with three different manufacturers, having previously triumphed with Volkswagen in 2010 and Peugeot in 2018

QIDDIYA: Veteran Spanish driver Carlos Sainz won the Dakar Rally for the third time on Friday, finishing with a comfortable winning margin in the first running of the event in Saudi Arabia.
The 57-year-old crossed the line in the 12th and final stage 6min 21sec ahead of nearest challenger and reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, who had managed to cut Sainz’s lead to just 24 seconds on Tuesday but fell back after navigation blunders.
“I feel very happy. There’s a lot of effort behind this. A lot of training, practice,” Sainz told the race’s website.
“It has been a flat out rally since the beginning. It was fantastic, a first time in Saudi Arabia, of course you can always improve but it was a fantastic effort,” he added.
Asked about defending his title next year Sainz said: “It’s too early to think about it, let me enjoy this.”
Sainz, the father of F1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr., seized control of the race from the third stage in his X-raid Mini.
He has now won the Dakar with three different manufacturers, having previously triumphed with Volkswagen in 2010 and Peugeot in 2018.
Stephane Peterhansel was third at 9min 58sec behind in his Mini. Both the Frenchman and Sainz won four stages in the marathon 12-day, 7,800-kilometer (4,800-mile) race.
Ricky Brabec triumphed in the motorbike section for Honda, becoming the first US rider to win the gruelling race.
Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso finished 13th on his Dakar debut, nearly five hours behind the winner.
Alonso came second in one stage but his first participation in the Dakar was a bruising affair as the 38-year-old Spaniard suffered a double rollover in the 10th stage after hitting a dune at an awkward angle.