Tiger preps for Carnoustie: 'The fairways are faster than the greens'

Tiger Woods plays Carnoustie practice round ahead of The Open

Woods drawn alongside Matsuyama and Knox at British Open

He's an old man compared to golf's young guns, but Tiger Woods says the British Open gives him the best chance of adding to his major tally for the first time in 10 years.

For Woods, putting is likely going to be the biggest issue.

His next two trips to Carnoustie were a little more productive - a T-7 at the 1999 Open and a T-12 in 2007. Weather conditions are typically the reason. It can get quick out here.

"We are still working on it and it's not there yet but we are trying to make it happen", said Woods. "That's just the way it goes".

I think you have to have a real game plan around here and stick to it, so you have a strategy on how you're going to play every hole in every different wind condition. I'm not going to hit that many long clubs off many tees. Had he hit a driver, he would have risked the ball rolling into the water (known as the Barry Burn) that fronts the green. This makes tracking any history here nearly worthless, as the last time The Open was played here at Carnoustie was in 2007. That club, one he normally hits 180 yards, saw the ball roll out to 215 yards. It is just one of these weeks where I don't see a lot of guys hitting woods off the tees just because it is so quick.

Spieth, who is ranked sixth in the world, has not won since his Open victory a year ago at Royal Birkdale.

He then traveled north, came to the golf course late in the afternoon and got in an abbreviated practice round of eight holes, teeing off at No. 1 and playing the first four holes before jumping over to the 15th and playing back to the clubhouse.

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"As far as long term, certainly I would say yes because of the fact you don't have to be long to play on a links style golf course", he told reporters at Carnoustie Tuesday. I had never played links golf. His game is good enough. However, as Woods gained confidence in his body and his ball-striking improved, the putter deserted him.

"It's more about getting the feel", he said.

"The guys who have done well have been wonderful feel players and also wonderful lag putters", he said, citing Tom Watson, who almost won the Open at age 59 in 2009, and Greg Norman, who contended at Birkdale the year before at 53.

"We're not going to get the most flawless bounces". His last and fourth back surgery had triggered inner doubts over whether he would return to a competitive environment. He has three top-5 finishes and five in the top 12 but has finished within 5 strokes of the victor just once - his runner-up finish to Paul Casey at the Valspar Championship.

Fourteen-times major champion Woods, who won the British Open in 2000, 2005 and 2006, has missed the last two editions because of a back problem.

Woods will pair off in his first Open for three years with Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama at 3.21pm. The official first tee times listed are at 12:35 CST, right as the calendar hits Thursday.

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