Jul 07, 2015

    Woods upbeat as British Open looms


    TIGER Woods has declared his performance at the Greenbrier Classic a "very positive week" and sounded excited about his prospects ahead of next week's British Open at St Andrews.

    The former world No. 1 has won twice at the Old Course, in 2000 and 2005, but it would be premature to suggest his game is quite ready to be etched on the Claret Jug once more.

    Still, after signing his first bogey-free card in 56 rounds on the PGA Tour, he had reason for tempered optimism, after finishing in joint-32nd place, six strokes behind winner Danny Lee in West Virginia on Sunday.

    A day after six-time Major champion Nick Faldo concluded that Woods was still prone to blocking drives under pressure, the American was singing a different tune.

    "It's the best I hit it in a long, long time," the 14-time Major champion told reporters after signing for a three-under 67. "This could have been one of those special rounds... If I just made a couple of putts, this week could have been completely different. I've made some nice strides heading into the British Open."

    It has been only one month since he shot his worst round as a professional, an 85 at the Memorial tournament, and he missed the cut at the US Open.

    Woods said that being in the midst of swing changes at Memorial played a role in what appeared to be a performance that augured badly for his future.

    "I made a big giant step at Memorial, even though I shot those numbers," he said. "I shot those high numbers but shifting the baseline like I did, consequently I'm here now. Very excited about it.

    "I've just got to get used to the feel. It's a completely different motion. It's not a short-term fix. People looking for the one quick fix and the very next day play great golf, it doesn't work that way.

    "It takes time to build it. I'm very pleased with what I've been able to do."

    New Zealand's Lee also had reason to cheer when he defeated David Hearn on the second play-off hole to capture the Greenbrier Classic - his first USPGA Tour title.

    "All I can say is wow," said Lee after two-putting on the second play-off hole for the win. "It feels amazing. I was so close a lot of times this year and I finally did it."