GULLANE: Tiger Woods will start the 142nd British Open at Muirfield today as favourite to win his 15th major title, but the odds on the world number one are in double figures for the first time in 13 years.
Defending champion Ernie Els is 25-1 to retain the title at a course where he lifted the Claret Jug 11 years ago and US Open winner Justin Rose is 20-1 to become the first English winner of the tournament since Nick Faldo in 1992.
Woods, who has not won a major for five years, is excited by the challenge of playing the course in fine weather conditions, a sharp contrast to 2002 when his hopes at Muirfield were scuppered by a third-round 81 in driving wind and rain.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Woods told a news conference. “What a fantastic championship on one of the best venues.
“It’s playing really fast out there. The golf course has got a little bit of speed to it and I’m sure it will get really quick by the weekend so the golf course is set up perfectly.”
Woods said he was feeling very good about his form.
“I’ve had a pretty good year so far, won four times even though I haven’t won a major,” he added.
“It’s just a shot here and there. It’s making a key up-and-down here or getting a good bounce, capitalising on a given opportunity. That’s what you have to do to win major championships.”
American Phil Mickelson, four-times a major champion, won last week’s Scottish Open and is 20-1 to win his first British Open, the same odds as Rose and Australian Scott who made up for his Lytham disappointment (a year back) by winning this year’s US Masters.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2013.
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