The 150th British Open golf tournament is set to tee off Thursday at the storied St. Andrews course in Scotland. World number-one golfer Tiger Woods of the United States has been drawn to play the first two rounds with England's Justin Rose and Camilo Villegas of Colombia.
Woods is aiming to be the first player to win three opens at the home of golf, having swept a victory in 2000 and 2005.
"I think that in order to win an [British] Open you have to hit the ball and control your trajectory so much more than what we do in the other three major championships we play," said Tiger Woods. "You're bringing the ball down, creativity is coming out, because obviously your trying to judge bouncing, how much it's going to roll on the ground. You're playing so many more shots here and I thinks that's one of the reasons why some of the Open champions in the past have been wonderful ball strikers."
He's been wayward in practice but history suggests he is the man to beat. And he's sure of a good reception from the Scottish crowds, regardless of the change in his public image since that last victory.
Lashing rain off the North Sea caused the cancellation of the Champion's Challenge, designed as an attractive curtain-raiser to the main event. And the forecast is for more bad weather to batter the links.
Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, chasing back-to-back major success, will fancy his chances in such elements, which are likely to favor the buoyant British and Irish contingent, more used to battling the winds and rain.