Alexa

Woods keeps focus on golf: 'Great out here today.'

 Tiger Wood of the U.S. putts on the first green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotla...
 Tiger Woods of the U.S. eats some nuts as he walks the second fairway with his caddie Steve Williams during the first round of the British Open Golf ...
 Tiger Woods of the U.S. in action on the second hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, S...
 Tiger Woods of the U.S. walks towards the Swilken Burn on the first hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Cour...
 Tiger Woods of the U.S. watches his approach shot onto the second green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Cours...
 Tiger Woods of the U.S. takes one hand off the club after playing a shot on the 6th hole during the first day of the British Open Golf Championship o...
 Tiger Woods of the U.S. looks on at the 10th green during the first day of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotl...
 Tiger Woods of the U.S. smiles on the 5th hole during the first day of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland,...
 From left, England's Justin Rose, Tiger Woods of the United States and Colombia's Camilo Villegas walk down the 2nd fairway during the first round of...
 Tiger Woods of the United States, left, and Colombia's Camilo Villegas walk across the Swilken Burn bridge on the 18th hole during the first round of...

British Open Golf

Tiger Wood of the U.S. putts on the first green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotla...

British Open Golf

Tiger Woods of the U.S. eats some nuts as he walks the second fairway with his caddie Steve Williams during the first round of the British Open Golf ...

British Open Golf

Tiger Woods of the U.S. in action on the second hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, S...

British Open Golf

Tiger Woods of the U.S. walks towards the Swilken Burn on the first hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Cour...

British Open Golf

Tiger Woods of the U.S. watches his approach shot onto the second green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Cours...

APTOPIX British Open Golf

Tiger Woods of the U.S. takes one hand off the club after playing a shot on the 6th hole during the first day of the British Open Golf Championship o...

British Open Golf

Tiger Woods of the U.S. looks on at the 10th green during the first day of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotl...

British Open Golf

Tiger Woods of the U.S. smiles on the 5th hole during the first day of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland,...

British Open Golf

From left, England's Justin Rose, Tiger Woods of the United States and Colombia's Camilo Villegas walk down the 2nd fairway during the first round of...

British Open Golf

Tiger Woods of the United States, left, and Colombia's Camilo Villegas walk across the Swilken Burn bridge on the 18th hole during the first round of...

The British tabloids banged the drum steadily for the better part of a week, hoping to guarantee Tiger Woods a much rowdier reception on this side of the Atlantic than he's received so far back home.
Didn't work. The best stunt anyone managed all day was pulled off by three young women behind the gallery ropes at No. 3 who shed their coats in a light rain to reveal sleeveless Tiger-print blouses just as their prey stepped onto the tee.
You might think their inspiration was yet another headline in one of the papers on Thursday morning: "Troubled Tiger Needs Support of the Crowd, Now More Than Ever." But no. Turns out the blouses, as well as the tickets, were provided by an Irish bookie seeking some publicity on the cheap.
Two other tabloids, meanwhile, fretted about Woods' "mental frailty" and his decision to change putters. Just like the women, Woods ignored the papers, too.
He made his way around St. Andrews in near-perfect conditions _ steady drizzle, the gentlest of breezes _ and shot 67. That left him four strokes behind leader Rory McIlroy, and pleased with the state of his game, his new putter and especially his reception.
"They've always been respectful and enthusiastic here," Woods said, referring to the galleries. "There's no reason it would be any different. They were great out there today."
Woods was very good, making five birdies to offset a lone bogey, but by his exacting standards, not great. He also had trouble again closing out what could have been a great round, missing a 4-footer for par at the 17th and a 10-footer for birdie at the 18th, both after brilliant lag putts over humps and hollows from off the green.
"It's getting better every week," Woods said. "Every week I'm playing, the things I've been working on have been starting to come together. I'm hitting shots that I haven't hit in a long time. It's building."
Woods has never gone more than seven tournaments to start a season without winning at least once and this British Open marks his seventh event. On top of that, expectations couldn't be much higher. He's won the Open the last two times it was held at St. Andrews, including a record-setting performance in 2000.
Yet the longer his winless streak stretches, the easier it becomes for the focus to shift away from his golf and back to his recently checkered past.
If Woods' life remains unsettled, it's showing less and less in his play. Close friend Mark O'Meara thinks all the pieces are in place once more and all that's left is for Woods to put them back together.
He pointed out that Woods had already finished tied for fourth in the season's first two majors, the Masters and U.S. Open, "and he wasn't close to being on his game.
"He's not all there, mentally, but his game is coming back," O'Meara added. "I told him, 'You can have all the fame, all the money, all the victories, but when your personal life is mixed up, none of that matters. Life is short and you want it to be happy.'"
Right about now, few things would make Woods happier than another claret jug for the trophy case back home, no matter where that turns out to be.


Updated : 2021-02-25 19:38 GMT+08:00