Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

The Open my best chance to add to majors haul: Woods


With a course baked solid by the sun, coupled with the forecast for favourable winds and dry rough, Carnoustie could be a bomber's paradise and McIlroy of any age fits the description.

With Day claiming Carnoustie's "fairways are faster than the greens" after a summer without rain, the Australian No.1 said he was likely to copy Woods' blueprint.

Open courses generally offer slower putting surfaces than regular PGA Tour venues.

Fowler, like his fellow American Woods, has proved he has the game to thrive on exposed seaside links courses like Carnoustie.

That happened in 2015 at St. Andrews, where much of the third round was delayed due to windy conditions; balls would not stop rolling on greens.

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That said, distance is everything at Carnoustie this year, which Woods discovered when he arrived Sunday.

Three weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National, Woods went to a new putter, a TaylorMade model that looks like a mallet and has grooves on the face. He also notched a win at the Houston Open. You start to feel a little bit more comfortable with a few shots, and you might start to take some on. If I can play with the same young abandon that I did back then that would be nice. Players have a reasonable idea how far the ball travels in the air.

Tiger Woods, however, said that controlling a driver that can potentially roll for 80 yards or more can make that strategy risky.

"There's not going to be one player in this field that has a game plan on Wednesday night and is going to stick to that game plan the whole way around for 72 holes, " McIlroy said. He has been saying he is planning to use his driver here, even though the ground is so hard that his ball will surely fetch up in trouble often as not.

"I'm not going to hit many long clubs off the tees", he said. "He (Woods) opened up".

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For example. Players such as Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have suggested they will hit numerous drivers in attempt to blow tee shots over troublesome bunkers and take their chances with rough that is not almost as penal as expected. "I don't know if that's the strategy this week to lay up that far back".

"Each tournament I keep feeling a little bit better because I'm starting to play some golf again", he said.

McIlroy won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, taking a career-best 100 putts for the tournament in the process, finished joint-fifth at the Masters in April and has had three other top-fives this season.

Carnoustie - or "Carnasty" as it's been affectionately dubbed - has hosted two of the four highest scoring Open Championships since World War Two, with Gary Player winning with a score of 289 in 1968 and Paul Lowrie claiming the Claret Jug with a cumulative score of 290 in 1999.

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