Tiger Woods left chasing McIlroy's lead

Tiger Woods was left in an unfamiliar position at St Andrews today after being joined by Rory McIlroy in golf's "63 Club."





Woods, who equalled the major championship record round himself at the US PGA three years ago, has led after each of the last seven rounds of The Open at the Home of Golf.



This time, in his first tournament in Britain since his sex scandal, the world number one has four strokes to make up on the Northern Irishman.



But the fact that it is "only" four with 54 holes to play means Woods still represents a real danger.



Asked what advice he would give 21-year-old McIlroy now he said: "Just keep doing what he's doing.



"Obviously he's doing what he needs to do and he's got a long way to go. He knows how to win golf tournaments and he'll be fine.



"It's a pretty impressive round no doubt. Rory kept it going - he played well through 'The Loop', but he also finished it off well even when the wind started picking up."



Because of the slow greens this week, Woods took out of his bag the putter with which he has won 13 of his 14 majors, including the last two Opens at St Andrews by eight and five shots.



He is clearly prepared to give the new blade a chance.



After three-putting the 17th for bogey and then doing the same from the Valley of Sin on the last - for par - he still stated: "I'm very pleased with it.



"As I said, it comes off faster and these greens are just the slowest I've seen in a long time, if ever, and especially with the moisture they have out there.



"Today felt awkward because there was absolutely no wind whatsoever and you never play a links golf course with no wind.



"With the conditions you had to go get it - you had to take advantage of it.



"I felt like I did a pretty good job of that today and I let the round mature.



"We all saw was Rory was doing, what JD (John Daly) was doing - it just goes to show you that the golf course could have been had. To be in the top 10 you had to be five under - you don't see that at too many majors.



"We've got three more rounds. I'm in good shape. As of right now we're on the good side of the draw, but you don't know tomorrow."



This is only the seventh tournament Woods has played since taking four months off to deal with the fall-out from his private life.



He has had fourth places finishes in both The Masters - his first event back - and US Open, but nothing better in his other starts.



On his swing he commented: "It's getting better every week. Every week I'm playing, the things I've been working on have been starting to come together.



"I'm hitting shots that I haven't hit in a long time. It's building."



As for the crowd's reaction to him throughout the day, he was delighted.



"They've always been respectful and enthusiastic here. There's no reason it would be any different - they were great out there today.



"They were just enthusiastic - we were making a bunch of birdies, so they had a lot to cheer about."



Woods was playing with Justin Rose and Camilo Villegas. Rose, winner of two of his last three events in the States, birdied the first two, but failed to build on that and signed for a 70, while Villegas had three birdies in four holes around the turn and shot 68.



A 12-footer at the second gave Woods his first birdie and after picking up further shots on the seventh and ninth for an outward 33 he haad three more in a row from the 12th.



But at the treacherous 17th - a hole he played in two over when he finished at a record 18 under in 2000 and one over when he was 14 under in 2005 - he missed the fairway, could not get his second close and paid the price.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all