x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

More elbow room for Tiger Woods to manoeuvre for missing major search at Open

World No 1 says he is good to go on Muirfield course where he endured his worst round as a professional.

Tiger Woods, having taken time off to let his left elbow heal, knows the rough at Muirfield is high and the ground will be hard. Stuart Franklin / Getty Images
Tiger Woods, having taken time off to let his left elbow heal, knows the rough at Muirfield is high and the ground will be hard. Stuart Franklin / Getty Images

GULLANE, Scotland // Tiger Woods said his ailing left elbow is "good to go" for the British Open, and he insisted on Tuesday that there has been no loss of confidence, despite the longest stretch of his career without a major title.

Woods resumes his quest for a 15th major title this week at Muirfield. Once considered a lock to break Jack Nicklaus' record, he has not won one of golf's biggest events since the 2008 US Open.

"I feel very good about my game," Woods said. "I feel very, very good going into major championships. I've had a pretty good year this year so far - won four times.

"Even though I haven't won a major championship in five years, I've been there in a bunch of them where I've had chances. I just need to keep putting myself there and eventually I'll get some."

The biggest question mark for Woods at this major is his health.

He strained his elbow at last month's US Open, playing in visible pain while struggling to a 32nd-place finish. He has not played since Merion, even skipping his own tournament to give the injury time to heal.

"The elbow feels good," Woods said. "It's one of the good things of taking the time off to let it heal and get the treatment and therapy on it. The main reason was that coming over here, the ground is going to be hard, obviously. And I am going to need that elbow to be good.

"And just in case the rough was, well, reports were it was going to be high, and it was going to be lush. I needed to have this thing set and healed. Everything is good to go."

Woods has dealt with several injuries, a swing change and major distractions in his personal life since winning his last major at Torrey Pines five years ago.

Not like he hasnot been in contention. Woods has eight top-10 finishes in the majors since his last victory, but he has not been able to break his drought and has rarely been in the mix over the final two hours on the final day.

Now he is returning to a course where he shot his worst round as a professional, an 81 in miserable conditions during the third round of the 2002 British Open.

"It's just a shot here and there," he said. "It's making a key up-and-down here or getting a good bounce there, capitalising on an opportunity here and there."

Woods is again the world's top-ranked player and no one comes close to his 13 PGA Tour victories over the last five years. But he knows better than anyone that major titles are what will determine his legacy. These are the tournaments he gears his entire season around, the ones he wants more than any other.

In his eyes, it is just a matter of time before he wins another.

"It's not much," Woods said. "It could happen on the first day, it could happen on the last day. But it's turning that tide and getting the momentum at the right time or capitalising on our opportunity. That's what you have to do to win major championships."

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