sport

Tiger ready for Open challenge

Tiger Woods is feeling positive ahead of The Open Championship which gets underway at Hoylake on Thursday.

Woods last won the title when it was contested at the same course in 2006 and his most recent major triumph was the 2008 US Open.

The 38-year-old is returning to full fitness after back surgery and although he missed the cut on his return to action at the Quicken Loans National at the end of June, he is happy with how he is progressing.

\"It's getting better. Playing at Congressional was a big boost to me,\" he said.

\"I was able to go out harder and hit it with no pain. It wasn't like that the previous time I played.

\"At both the Honda and Doral (in March) I did not feel well but I have got stronger, more explosive and faster since then. I am only going to get stronger and faster, which is great.\"

Woods admitted he came to the UK earlier than in previous years in order to acclimatise himself to links golf again and his preparation appears to be paying off.

\"It's one of the reasons I came over earlier, to have an extra day,\" he added. \"I played Saturday, Sunday and took yesterday (Monday) off and I came back here today.

\"I have seen the golf course in three different winds and that's awfully nice because I have had to hit completely different clubs off a lot of these tee shots because the wind has been so different.\"

Woods feels he has a special connection with Hoylake, having won there in 2006 just weeks after his father's death, and he is keen to add to his list of Open titles.

\"I wish I had added a few more. I am at three and hopefully I get more than that,\" he added.

"It feels great to come back to Hoylake and to this venue. It meant a lot to me in my life at the time.

"The people are fantastic. I was going through a pretty tough time in my life at the time, and people were very supportive that week.

"Now it's eight years on and my life has certainly changed a lot since then. That was a very emotional week.

"I came here and just felt at peace. I really, really played well. On Sunday I really felt calm out there. It was surreal at the time.\"