Tiger Woods says his drought in major golf championships is more a result of execution than lack of confidence.
Woods has gone five years since winning his 14th major title at the 2008 U.S. Open. The world’s top-ranked golfer gets his next chance to close in on Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 this week in the British Open at Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland.
“It’s just a shot here and there,” Woods, 37, said today at a press conference. “It’s not much. 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 capitalizing on our opportunity. That’s what you have to do to win major championships.”
Woods is the 9-1 favorite at Muirfield with U.K. bookmaker William Hill Plc, meaning a successful $1 bet returns $9 plus the original stake. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson are the second choices at 18-1.
The most recent of Woods’s three Open victories came in 2006, with his joint third-place finish last year his best since.
Woods has been up and down in majors since the U.S. Open victory. He’s had eight top-10 finishes in 16 starts, but fallen outside the top-10 in four of the past six. He’s also failed to reach weekend play twice and missed four tournaments because of injury.
“I felt very, very good going into major championships,” Woods, who has four wins this season and recaptured the No. 1 world ranking, said. “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.”
Woods tied for fourth in April’s Masters Tournament and tied for 32nd at last month’s U.S. Open, where he strained his left elbow and finished 13-over par after failing to break par with rounds of 73, 70, 76 and 74. He then sat out the AT&T National at the end of last month to recover and had been working on his game at home in Florida.
“The elbow feels good,” he 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’m going to need that elbow to be good.”
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