Golf

Tiger Woods returns to Hoylake ahead of Open

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Tiger Woods returns to the scene of his last Open win as the Royal Liverpool course prepares to play host for the first time since 2006.

He admitted it to being a "different course" compared to the one he won at eight years ago.

Woods, 38, will make his first major appearance of the season when he tees it up on the Wirral links next week having missed both the Masters and US Open through injury following surgery on a pinched nerve in his back on March 31.

'Lush, fast course'

Speaking to a small group of reporters following his 18 holes on Saturday, Woods said: "It's definitely different, there's no doubt. It's lush, but it's still playing fast."

The 14-time major champion returned competitively a fortnight ago at the Quicken Loans National, much to the surprise of many, but after missing the cut some have questioned why he chose not to play last week's Greenbrier Classic nor the Scottish Open.

Major record chase

However, Woods' appearance in the north west of England is a timely reminder to his critics that he is still as committed as he ever was to chasing Jack Nicklaus' all-time major-record haul of 18. 

That will of course be dependant on his health, but after yesterday's round Woods added that he could now "do whatever he wanted" without being restricted by his back. 

"This is how it used to feel. I have been playing with this back problem for a while and I had my good weeks and bad weeks. Now, they're all good," he said.

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"I can do whatever I want. I'm at that point now. Congressional was big for me - the fact I could go out there and play, and got better as the days went on," he added. "I was little bit leery, a little bit iffy about how I was going to feel - especially hitting the ball as hard as I was able to. 

"I've gotten my speed back, and I'm starting to hit the ball out there again. I'm only going to get stronger as the weeks go on."

Driver feat repeat

Woods famously won at Hoylake eight years ago hitting just one driver all week - a feat he appeared to believe could be repeated despite the softer conditions this time around. He hit only one driver Saturday, on the par-four fourth, as a "test". 

"This course is giving it up. There's lots of roll, even though we just got rain," he added. 

Perhaps the most important aspect of his round at Royal Liverpool, though, was how much he clearly enjoyed playing the game he loves once more. Having spent four months on the sidelines, he will be itching to get started this coming Thursday. 

He finished: "I just wanted to get out here, and get a feel for the golf course. I just kind of wanted to get out here and get my feet wet… and literally I actually did." 

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Topics:
PGA Tour
Golf
The Open
European Tour
Tiger Woods

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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