Tiger Woods expects to win the British Open this week, but let’s face facts: He’s 38, he has a bad back and he hasn’t won a major in six years.
So yeah, Scott Ferrall isn’t buying it.
“No, I’m not,” Golfweek senior writer David Dusek said on Ferrall on the Bench. “But this is a guy who has given us a lot of great storylines over the past two decades. If Tiger Woods were able to get in contention and somehow win, get the 15th major championship and start the march back toward Jack Nicklaus, he would probably break Twitter. It would go nuts. But there’s nothing in his game to this point that would lead you to believe that he is going be able to – at age 38, with all the health problems and all the mental baggage he’s got – flip the switch and turn his season around on a quirky, goofy (golf course). Weather gets good, weather gets bad, funny hops – (for him to be) able to find his game and beat the world’s best payers on a golf course like that, I’m not buying it.”
Woods, however, wasn’t all that bad Thursday. He bogeyed his first two holes but settled in nicely with five birdies on the back nine, finishing the day at 3-under 69. He is tied for eighth with several golfers, including Rickie Fowler and Marc Leishman.
All in all, it was a good first day for Woods.
It was also a good first day for Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk, both of whom are tied for third at 4-under 68. Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, is atop the leader board with a 6-under 66.
“There’s a bunch of guys who could end up winning this,” Dusek said.
Ferrall loves that. In fact, he thinks the British Open – and not the Masters – is the best major.
“It’s because you’re so old school,” Dusek said. “You are old school when it comes to your golf. You want guys who are going to have to tough it out, to grind it out – and that’s what the Open Championship, more than any other golf event, demands of you. You have to be mentally strong to put up with everything that mother nature and the golf curse and the competition is going to throw at you.”
For Dusek, though, the Masters will always be No. 1.
“The Masters, to me, is the one,” he said. “If you blessed me with enough talent and everybody else fell off the face of the earth so I could win one of these things, the Masters is the one I would want to win. But I totally understand what you’re saying (about the Open). And a lot of people around the world feel that this is the one.”
It also helps that one of the game’s greats seems to win it every year. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, David Duval, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Steve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino – the list goes on.
“These are legendary golf courses with legendary winners,” Dusek said. “It’s so rare that we (get) a fluke winner. Every now and then it happens, but if you’re going to win one, you’re going to have to put on your big-boy pants and play golf. I totally respect people who can find it within themselves to somehow win this thing.”