The Open 2013: Tiger Woods fights to keep hopes alive in dry conditions

 

Muirfield

An instinct for survival kept Tiger Woods’s chances of a fourth Open crown, and a first major title for five years, alive yesterday.

A bad start on a difficult day and things can go from bad to worse. They did for many. Not for Woods. His opening drive finished in the rough that was so bad it was unplayable. A bogey was the inevitable result.

For others it was the greens that were unplayable, so much did they dry out. But Woods knew this was a day to stay in contention rather than hit the front. Three birdies in four holes to start the back nine achieved that. Putts galore went in but at the 14th he had a sharp reminder of how tricky it was getting when he putted off the green. “It really wasn’t that bad a putt,” he said.

A two-under-par 69 left Woods three off the lead, no damage done. The elbow injury that hampered his chances at the US Open last month no longer troubled him. It was a day to simply grind away and, with the help of 10 single-putt greens, he managed it. “It was tough,” he said. “The golf course progressively got more dried out and more difficult as we played. I’m pleased to shoot anything under par.

“I could see how some guys were complaining about it,” he said. “It was so difficult to keep the ball below the hole and in the right spot. Even with a lag-putt at the right speed it was hard to get the ball close.”

Another way of tackling the circumstances was exhibited by Miguel Angel Jimenez who had four birdies in the first five holes and hung on for a 68. During the winter he broke his leg while skiing. He was out of the game for four months and only started back on tour in May. “I never think if my career is over or not,” he said. “If you are breaking your leg at 30 years old, you could say, OK, I’m going to have a sabbatical year. But at 49 you don’t want to spend any sabbatical day.”

Jimenez plays links golf the same way he speaks English: somehow it all makes sense even if bits of it defy comprehension. He said of the accident: “You cannot distract for anything because the bull can take you. The more important thing is to enjoy yourself and to be happy on the course,” he said. With the firm conditions frustrating many others, Jimenez was true to his words. It is also a mantra he has passed on to others.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who opened with a 67 to be one stroke behind the leader, is a different animal to Jimenez. From the island of Gran Canaria, he is 20 years younger and has a vastly more athletic frame. He does not smoke. He is of a different generation who seek power as a primary virtue. But Jimenez is still his mentor. “He has a great attitude, different but a very admirable way of how he looks at golf and how he makes golf part of his life,” Cabrera-Bello said. “He has always been very helpful.

“The thing I have tried to copy is that every time Miguel tees up in a tournament, he’s given himself everything that he needs to be comfortable, to feel relaxed and to feel that he’s enjoying every second of that week. Whether it is his wines or cigars, he gives them to himself to give him the best chance to perform. My approach is different, I like to do a lot of sports and my favourite hobby is surfing, but I try to do stuff so that I get to the first tee enjoying myself as much as Miguel does.”

Suggested Topics
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living