TIGER WOODS: Here's Why The British Open Is The Best Golf Tournament Of The Year

Tiger Woods


Tiger Woods at the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield. He shot an 81 in nasty conditions.

The oldest, and most important, major golf championship is this week.

The Open Championship, or as you people call it, The British Open, is being playing at Muirfield, a golf course in Scotland that's regarded as one of the finest links courses in the world.
Tiger Woods is back in competition, and he's the favorite, despite the fact that he hasn't played in a month. He was resting a strained elbow, which he hurt during his victory at the Player's Championship in May.
On his blog, Woods says, "I'm very confident that my left elbow strain won't be a problem and I will be able to hit all the shots I need to hit."

Woods has often called the Open Championship his favorite major championship.

On the blog, he gives his analysis of the course, as well as why he loves links golf. It's definitely worth a read:

Muirfield is one of the hardest courses in Scotland. The front nine is basically played clockwise and the back nine is played counter-clockwise and on the inside of the front nine. You have to shape the golf ball both ways, and you never know what's going to come off that water as far as wind. It can change directions. If the wind switches, you can be aggressive on certain holes and others you have to be conservative. That's the neat thing about a British Open: You just never know what type of conditions you're going to get each day.

I love the creativity of being able to hit shots and utilize the ground as an asset. That's something that we don't have in the states; we don't really play that game here. I loved playing links golf right away. My first time over here was in 1995 playing Carnoustie and St. Andrews. That was a pretty good education. It takes a little bit of understanding about how to control the ball on the ground and how much it's going to release that particular week. Some weeks, it releases a lot more than others.

The majority of the fans at the Open Championship understand how difficult some of the shots are. If you hit a 3-iron into a green and wind up 50 feet away, you get pretty good applause because they know how difficult a shot that is.

As far as strategy, it's all dependent on setup. I don't know how fast the fairways are going to be -- if drivers are going to be running out 60 or 70 yards. And will it be hard to control the ball on the ground, or will it be soft and the ball is not running out as much?

Although I have been playing every day, I also have to get back into a competitive feel. The practice rounds are going to be important for how that particular golf course is playing. Whether we're going to need to hit the ball higher or lower, what the conditions are and what the weather is going to be. It's a little different than Florida. I'll just bring an assortment of clothing for any weather.

And, for further reading, here is Woods explaining why he loves the Open from last year's blog post:

...Each British Open has its own little quirks.

For instance, Hoylake was burnt out; some years at St. Andrews, the wind blew hard; this year, it will be a little bit softer than it normally plays. But we don't know if it's going to rain or blow, so that adds different challenges as the week develops. I'll bring my 5-wood and 2-iron, and decide which club to carry once I get there and feel out the conditions.
You can have so many different weather conditions. You just don't know. That's one of the unique things about the British Open and why it's my favorite major championship. It's the only tournament besides the sandbelt courses in Australia that we can actually use the ground as a friend and bounce the ball into the greens. Modern golf is all up in the air.