Tiger Woods insists that nothing less than a victory in this week’s Open Championship will be acceptable. According to Bernard Gallacher, however, he might need to set his sights somewhat lower.
During his pre-tournament press conference, Tiger was adamant that his objective this week is, ‘as always’, to finish first. That’s despite having played only two competitive rounds since March, those being the first 36 holes of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional last month.
The 14-time major winner shot rounds of 74 and 75 to miss the cut for just the tenth time in his PGA Tour career and Gallacher insists he saw nothing in Woods’ game there to suggest there might be any different an outcome at Royal Liverpool this week.
“I’m thinking a bit different to Tiger because I reckon he’ll be doing well to make the cut,” said former Ryder Cup captain Gallacher. “You can never write him off but, considering he has only really played two competitive rounds since March, it’s difficult to see how he could come here to a tough championship course and contend.
“I know he’s saying that he’s coming here to win. Frankly, I think that he if he makes the cut and manages to get into contention then, secretly, he’ll be happy with that. In saying that, Tiger’s Tiger. Anything could happen.”
Following last weekend’s World Cup win over Argentina, Gallacher is predicting more sporting success for Germany this Sunday – assuming a couple of British hopefuls don’t get their way.
"I think anything that’s in double figures will have a chance." - Bernard Gallacher
“You’ve got to fancy Martin Kaymer,” he said. “He’s a straight-hitter, drives the ball ever so well and is a great putter. It’s difficult to win back-to-back majors but he’s a good player and the manner in which he won the US Open tells me that he’s getting to a different level. He’s had a break since then, too, so I think he’ll be ready for it.
“Justin Rose will be the big British threat, I think. I actually fancied him to do well before he won the Scottish Open last weekend. He’s playing well enough to make it three wins in a row and, of course, you can’t rule out Rory . If he can get through Friday, he might do well. He’s got the game to win. It’s just that 'second round' thing. He keeps following good first rounds with poor second rounds and he just can’t afford to do that this week.”
The Open is returning to Hoylake for the first time since 2006. On that occasion, Tiger Woods was victorious, winning in glorious conditions over the baked-out, fast-running course with an 18-under-par aggregate. With the course playing much softer than that this week, and with some rain and wind forecast, Bernard Gallacher anticipates scoring will be considerably less impressive this time around.
“Tiger won with 18-under-par in 2006 but I don’t think it’ll be 18-under this year,” he said. “The R&A will try and set up the course so that double figures will be good going. So, yeah, I think anything that’s in double figures will have a chance. Of course, that depends on the weather and, in particular, the wind.”
Bernard Gallacher’s predictions :: your thoughts
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