x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Woods enters British Open while Harrington undergoes surgery

Tiger Woods's quest to win for the third time in a row at St Andrews is back on after he filed his entry yesterday for July's British Open.

Tiger Woods's quest to win for the third time in a row at St Andrews is back on after he filed his entry yesterday for July's British Open. Woods has still to announce when he will next appear after withdrawing from The Players Championship in Florida with a neck injury seven holes into his final round nine days ago. A scan revealed that he was suffering from an inflamed facet joint and he said: "I now need to take care of this condition and will return to playing golf when I'm physically able."

The world No 1 won by a massive eight shots in 2000 at St Andrews and then returned to the "Home of Golf" in 2005 and won by five. He is expected to be fit enough to defend his Memorial title in Ohio next week and should take his place in the field for the US Open at Pebble Beach. Meanwhile, Ernie Els yesterday admitted he was nervous returning to Wentworth, the course on which he has had more success than any other player.

The seven-time winner of the World Match Play is one of the men responsible for turning the English course into one of the most difficult tests anywhere on the circuit. After changes added 310 yards and 30 bunkers prior to the 2006 BMW PGA Championship the latest modifications have altered all 18 greens and the famous par five closing hole now has a wide ditch in front which totally changes its character.

"I was quite anxious to get out there," said the 40-year-old South African ahead of the start of tomorrow's event. "Players will have a little bit of a shock for a while, but they will find a way to score around here. When you master this course now I think you'll have a lot of confidence going forward and not be intimidated by any course." Ian Poulter, who was forced to take time off recently after hurting his knee playing basketball, is having treatment for a neck strain on the eve of the PGA Championship.

The world No 6, playing in the European Tour's flagship event for the first time since 2007, has been suffering on and off for more than two months. Padraig Harrington is going into hospital for a knee operation after the PGA Championship and will not play the Wales Open at Celtic Manor next month. * PA Tomorrow: William Johnson's thoughts on Lee Westwood's quest for a major title.