The Open 2014: Tiger Woods relies on pedigree to make the difference


Tiger Woods put a peg in the ground just twice today and that was it, holes one and two and he was off, serious practice done. Perhaps he knows his Hoylake history; that Royal Liverpool deals largely in blue-chip winners, wiping out a swathe of contenders at the outset.

This tournament has thrown up its share of random champions over the years, step forward Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton, Stewart Cink and Mark Calcavecchia, but not at this place. Woods won his third Open here in 2006, one of three greats to have brought up their Open hat-trick on the Wirral alongside Bobby Jones and Peter Thompson.

In the case of Jones he was busy making history in 1930, his victory notching the second leg of the fabled grand slam. Jones followed Walter Hagen, champion here in 1924, onto the Hoylake victory board, who in turn came after J H Taylor, another legend of the game, in 1913.

A further quirk of Hoylake is the number of international winners that have taken the Claret Jug here, seven, more than at any other Open venue. The first of those, Arnaud Massy in 1907, remains – thanks to Jean van de Velde’s collapse at Carnoustie in 1999 – the only Frenchman to have won the old pot.

Despite his inactivity Woods retains a prominent spot in the betting. He has been here since Saturday and, after replacing the flag at the second hole, completed his preparations with some chipping and putting by the clubhouse.

He will find this a different course and stronger field. The bleached fairways of 2006 are verdant and lush in 2014. The heavy showers that peppered the course in the early afternoon deepened the hue and ensured the ball will not be rolling as it did eight years ago.

The greens, too, are more receptive, balls leaving uncharacteristic impressions on putting surfaces that organisers had hoped might be quicker. With the forecast looking more settled than earlier predictions suggested, the tea leaves point to another player of pedigree and form taking control.

Thus are Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer attracting the greater share of the betting dollars. The Royal and Ancient chief executive, Peter Dawson, has fingers crossed that the wind might at least give the world’s best reason to blink. “We remember some pretty horrendous scenes. I think it was at Birkdale when the tents blew down all those years ago,” he said.

“I don’t think in this week in July that we’ve seen massive changes in weather compared to before. What we want, I think, is a good links. Breezy, sunny conditions is what we’d like to see. We know we won’t get that every day, but we hope we’d get some of it. Our mind set is just to accept what weather we get, and the players have to adapt to it.”

Moving on to matters within his control, Dawson said he would be happy to sit down with his counterparts at the England and Wales Cricket Board to avoid the kind of high-summer scheduling mess that sees The Open and the Lord’s Test coincide. “I would be very pleased to do that. I know it’s a difficulty for many people. And a very unfortunate clash, in what’s becoming a very crowded summer these days. Part of the reason, I think, and this isn’t a criticism, is that different television companies now cover events that the same television company used to cover. So the chances of clashes are perhaps slightly greater than in the old days. But I accept the point, and I would be more than open to such a discussion.”

* A man was arrested after an apparent attempt was made to drive a golf buggy out of the gates at Royal Liverpool today. Pictures emerged on social media of the buggy, owned by the R & A, on a banking outside the gate. Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, R & A director of championships, said: “Police are now investigating and I cannot say any more at this time.”

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?