Tiger Woods tipped to be contender at The Open – “He’s got a great chance”


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Sandy Lyle has backed Tiger Woods to be in the mix for a remarkable win at The 150th Open Championship at St Andrews next month after his battle with injuries

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Tiger Woods defies the odds in remarkable return to action at 86th Masters

Tiger Woods has a “great chance” of competing for victory at The 150th Open Championship next month – as long as his body holds up.

That’s the verdict of two-time major winner and former rival Sandy Lyle, who reckons Woods could pull off yet another remarkable comeback. The greatest golfer of all-time achieved the unthinkable when he won the Masters in 2019 – his first major win in over a decade – but suffered serious leg injuries in a car crash in early 2021.

Woods returned to action at the Masters in April and again defied the odds to make the cut before fading as he struggled with swelling as the week progressed. He skipped the US Open earlier this month but could return to action at St Andrews when the tournament gets underway on July 14.

Lyle believes the flat, open course will be easier on Woods’ physical condition as he makes his way around 72 holes over the space of four days. And with what he has witnessed from his revamped swing, Lyle believes “there’s no reason he shouldn’t contend” to lift the iconic Claret Jug for the fourth time as he returns to the scene of his 2000 and 2005 wins.

Tiger Woods has been backed to compete for the Claret Jug at The 150th Open Championship
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Lyle, supporting The 150th Open Championship Claret Jug Tour, in partnership with HSBC UK, said: “I think we were all gobsmacked he was going to play in the Masters, and that personally wouldn’t have been my first choice for him knowing what he’s had to put up with in terms of walking.

“Walking was the biggest thing for him. You look at his body, he’s fit and his attitude is good, like it’s always good. But is his body going to let him down when he gets down the stretch? Swelling is a big thing he has to worry about right now.

“It’s not like he’s not fit enough to get round, he’s been in hospital, hasn’t walked – he’s been training hard for many months and he doesn’t do it at a third rate.

“It’s really about how his body is going to react, and I think it reacted OK. I think he was struggling a bit at night time because of swelling. It’s a bit like tennis players, after a four or five hour tennis match and they go into ice baths to try and get themselves back to some sort of normal, get the swelling down.

“That’s where Tiger is going to struggle a little bit, but maybe not so much at St Andrews, because it’s a flatter golf course. It’s just the standing, walking and standing, his ankles could swell a bit and swelling is what he doesn’t want in his legs and his knees.

“But only he knows what he can do and can’t do, I can only observe what I see from the outside. What he did swing-wise at the Masters and what he’s doing body-wise, it all looks pretty A-1.

“There’s no reason he shouldn’t contend for The Open in a few weeks’ time, and I think he’s got a great chance.”

Lyle, who won The Open in 1985, believes patience will be key for the players battling for the Claret Jug in a tournament which he says will mean more than most being held at St Andrews.

He said: “I should think 110%, the draw for the Americans is right there, it’s the highest end of the draw. They all want to go out there and play in The Open, especially at St Andrews.

Woods has had plenty of success at St Andrews in the past and is a three-time Open winner
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“It’s an expensive week for a lot of the American players, but they just love to compete on a course that is unique.

“I’ve travelled around the world now, and there’s no other course like it. St Andrews is unique, the history is there as well, and being the 150th Anniversary of The Open Championship, everyone is looking forward to it.

“The thing is with St Andrews is there’s about 11 double greens. There’s a lot of waiting because of other groups trying to finish off.

“It’s a minor side of it, but patience for the pro is absolutely priority. You can get away with your B game around it and still win the tournament, but you’ve got to have your A-game in terms of the mental strategy, staying within the moment and not getting tired and fed up with waiting around.

“Patience will be a huge part. I remember when I last played there and Tiger Woods was right behind me when he won. We got on the fifth tee, I was already the third group on there and he arrived as the fourth group, still waiting.

Sandy Lyle believes Woods can be a contender and patience will be key for all golfers in Scotland
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Lyle is supporting The 150th Open Championship Claret Jug Tour, in partnership with HSBC UK
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“He had to wait probably 25 minutes or half an hour before he played his next shot, and that’s not easy. If you’ve got momentum and all of a sudden you’ve got to stand still, that’s where the concentration comes in.

“The US Open doesn’t compare, because it’s a different style golf course, narrow fairways, hot. St Andrews is wide fairways in some ways, not so hot, deeper bunkers, putting will be quite difficult, but patience will be the number one thing.”

  • Sandy Lyle is supporting The 150th Open Championship Claret Jug Tour, in partnership with HSBC UK.
  • The tour will visit schools, golf clubs, city centres and HSBC branches.
  • The famous trophy will work its way across the UK and Ireland, finishing at St Andrews for The 150th Open in July.
  • For more information of where the trophy will be visit TheOpen.com, and follow @TheOpen and @HSBC_UK on social.

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