St. Andrews sparks memories of Woods' imperious peak

Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:55pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - When Tiger Woods tees it up on Thursday in the British Open he would not be human if his thoughts did not wander back 15 years to when he tamed St Andrews and seemed set to become the greatest golfer in history.

The Woods of 2015 will probably be happy just to make the cut at the 'Home of Golf', or even just a few fairways as he wrestles to master another rebuilt swing in the wake of woeful rounds of 80 and 76 at last month's U.S. Open.

In 2000, however, he played with such controlled precision that he caressed his ball around 72 holes of the Old Course in Scotland without once finding the myriad killer bunkers that repeatedly caught out his rivals.

The American had gone into the tournament with his confidence and reputation sky high after putting together a six-tournament winning streak, the longest since compatriot Ben Hogan in 1948.

One of them was the 2000 U.S. Open, where he broke or tied nine tournament records including his astonishing winning margin of 15 shots.

That triumph was his third different major and, at 24, he needed the British Open to become the youngest to complete a career grand slam.

He opened with a five-under-par 67 at St Andrews, trailing Ernie Els by a shot, but was three clear of compatriot David Toms on Friday night after adding a 66.

Relentlessly accurate on the Saturday he posted another 67 to head into the final day six ahead of Thomas Bjorn and David Duval.   Continued...

Jun 19, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 12th hole in the second round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports