As the countdown begins to the 142nd Open Championship continues Tiger Woods will be preparing for his first event since sustaining an elbow injury at last month's US Open at Merion.

The world number one has won the coveted claret jug three times with the last being at Royal Liverpool in 2006, Woods has not won any major in five years with his last success being the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines leaving him stuck on 14 majors.

Much has happened during that five year spell but with Woods back at number one he will be favourite heading into next week's Open at Muirfield. While not winning next week is not a huge blow to his bid of catching Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors, he does need to win that 15th major soon or risk not catching the Golden Bear and here's why.

Tiger certainly is not struggling to add to his wins list, the American has won four times in 2013 taking his total on the PGA Tour to 78 but the mental edge Woods had 10 years ago has gone particularly in the majors.

The issue Woods has his excluding the Players win at TPC Sawgrass most of his wins are coming at courses he has dominated at during his career, Torrey Pines, Bay Hill and Doral.

His best finish at a major since the 2008 US Open is 2nd at the 2009 PGA Championship but Woods has been in contention at a few majors notably the Masters the last few years and toiled down the stretch.

The last time the Open was at Muirfield was 2002, interestingly won by this year's defending champion Ernie Els though Woods only managed a T23rd place at that Open.

While that result has little bearing on this year's event it does suggest Woods will have to overcome his recent struggles while in major contention if he wants to add that elusive 15th major.

Looking after the Open the final major of this year, the PGA Championship, will be held at Oak Hill the scene of Shawn Micheel's famous win back in 2003, Woods only finished T39th that year.

If we are to base Woods' best chances at adding to his major tally and possibly reach Nicklaus' 18 majors, the Masters may provide his best annual chance as he has always been strong at Augusta and next year's US Open at Pinehurst No 2 is another venue he has been strong at finished 3rd and 2nd at 2 US Open's there.

The next two Open Championship's are held at venues he has won at Royal Liverpool hosts in 2014 while St. Andrews hosts in 2015, while next year's PGA championship returns to Valhalla where he famously beat Bob May in a three-hole-playoff in 2000.

Given his history 2014 may be the year Tiger adds to his 14 majors, of course he could easily add a fourth Open Championship at Muirfield next week either way if Woods does want to reach Nicklaus he may be entering a period of major venues where that dream can be realised.


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