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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > The Open > Tournament Preview


Tiger Woods in preparation for The Open

When Tiger Woods takes a vacation, golf is not his escape - it's what he's trying to escape from.

"I don't play golf on my vacations," Woods said. "I get away from it. I would never, ever have a golfing vacation because it's not interesting for me to go out there and do that."

World number one Woods needs a purpose to entice him into golfing and nothing will bring as much dedication as this week when he will be at home in Florida training for the 138th British Open next week at Turnberry, Scotland.

"I love playing, but when I'm at home, it's more preparing," Woods said. "I'll go out and play, but it's preparing for the next event. I rarely ever go out and just play just to play.

"I enjoy going out and practicing, playing nine or 18 and testing what I just worked on. But that's just how I've always done it."

Woods will be seeking his 15th major title, three shy of matching the career record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus. Woods won the 2000 and 2005 British Opens at St. Andrews and also lifted the Claret Jug in 2006 at Royal Liverpool.

But he is without a major title for the first time in five years and looking forward to his chances to change that in Scotland and next month at Hazeltine in Minnesota, where Woods finished second to American Rich Beem in 2002.

"Looking forward to the next two," Woods said. "I've never played Turnberry, so I'm looking forward to getting there and playing. Hazeltine, it has been a while, but I came close there, and I like Hazeltine."

Woods, comning off a victory at his PGA National event, will emphasize ball control and shotmaking in working with coach Hank Haney as he prepares to handle the fickle winds that can blow away British Open title dreams.

"Just making sure that you can flight your ball and making sure you can maneuver it both ways efficiently, because over there you don't know what kind of weather you're going to get," Woods said.

"You have to be able to be confident in controlling your golf ball and manoeuvering it all around and feel like you can do it efficiently."

As important as practice sessions will be for Woods, part of his preparation will include watching video of television coverage from prior British Opens at Turnberry, including Nick Price's 1994 triumph and Tom Watson's 1977 victory.

"I've seen the highlights. I think everyone has. But I haven't seen it in a while," Woods said. "More than anything, depends on the camera angles, what they show you, what they're able to show you.

"I'll take a look at it. But from what I hear, they have changed a few holes. I don't know what holes they have changed, but maybe I'll get an idea of that first before I took a look at it."

The course is 247 yards longer with only the four par-3 holes unchanged. Woods knows there's nothing like seeing what he will be up against on the blustery Scottish shore.

"There's only so much you can see on videotape. I'll have to get there in person," Woods said.

"But the whole idea before I get there is actually to have everything dialed in, feel comfortable with my swing, short putting, everything, then start getting the feel for how to play over there.

"I have to do more homework once I get there and do more prep work on the greens and make sure I truly understand how to play the golf course and have a game plan come Thursday."

Weather can play havoc with British Open dreams, but Woods appreciates a course that can offer a challenge and Turnberry will certainly fill that bill.

"I've always preferred playing harder courses," Woods said. "I've always liked to play a golf course that you have to think and work your way around the golf course, like a chess match."


July 7, 2009

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