- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: PREVIEW TO 129TH BRITISH OPEN GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS AT ST ANDREWS
- Date: 19th July 2000
- Summary: ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND, UK (JULY 19, 2000) 1. WIDE SHOT OF COURSE 2. SPECTATORS 3. TIGER WOODS TEE 4. MARK O'MEARA CHIPPING ONTO GREEN 5. WOODS AND O'MEARA TOGETHER 6. ERNIE ELS 7. DAVID DUVAL CLOSE UP 8. COLIN MONTGOMERIE TEE 9. SPECTATORS 10. LEE WESTWOOD TEE 11. NICK PRICE 12. IAN WOOSNAM 13. GENERAL VIEWS OF GOLF COURSE 14. SAM TORRANCE GIVES UP ATTEMPT TO GET OUT OF BUNKER, CROWD LAUGH 15. (Soundbite) TOM LEHMAN (English) SAYING HOW DIFFICULT THE COURSE IS 16. WIDE SHOT OF ROAD HOLE BUNKER 17. PER-ULRIK JOHANSSON FAILS TO GET OUT OF ROAD BUNKER 18. TOM WATSON TEE 19. (Soundbite) WOODS (English) TALKING ABOUT THE 17TH 20. GENERAL VIEWS OF COURSE Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 3rd August 2000 13:00
- Location: ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Reuters ID: LVA1B4PI08W6VZFH1MA7TY2ZGJDR
- Story Text: Nothing at St Andrews this week has shaken Tiger
Woods's position as the biggest pre-tournament favourite in
British Open history.
The world number one is rated 15-8 to lift the Claret
Jug and the 500,000 pounds (748,400 U.S. dollars) winner's
cheque on Sunday, odds that even Jack Nicklaus in his prime
did not rival.
Victory would make Woods, 24, only the fifth player to
complete a career grand slam.
The American pulverised the opposition when he took last
month's US Open by 15 shots - the biggest winning margin ever
in a major - and he has now won 15 of his last 27 tournaments.
"When he's on, we don't have much of a chance. He's
near-perfect," said South African Ernie Els, second favourite
Woods' putting, like most of his game, has improved over
the last two years and such is his accuracy of approach,
essential here with the often awkward pin placements, that he
should not face too many 50-footers.
His enormous length off the tee will make many of the par
fours drivable. The fairways are rock solid and shaved like
greens and the good weather forecast this week will only add
to the distance achievable.
But other players will also be able take advantage of the
conditions and length off the tee should not make a huge
difference - accuracy will be the decisive factor.
Those getting too greedy for distance risk paying a very
heavy price as waiting to punish them are bunkers accepted by
everyone here to be just about the most difficult in the game.
"The less experienced players who don't know the course so
well will probably go for it and find themselves in trouble,"
said Colin Montgomerie.
"You make a mistake round here and you won't just make a
bogey, you'll make a double bogey."
It is for that reason that the Scot, still seeking his
first major, thinks it unlikely that another outsider, such as
last year's winner Paul Lawrie, will come through.
Els, runner up behind Vijay Singh in the Masters, joint
second in the U.S. Open and a winner last week at Loch Lomond,
looks the best equipped to mount a challenge to Woods and his
terrific putting could hold him in good stead.
Phil Mickelson, another excellent putter, could also come
into the equation as his excellent short game, especially with
the lob-wedge, could help him by-pass many of the Old Course's
deadly slopes and hollows.
Former winners Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard along with
Hal Sutton could also feature although their fellow American,
world number two David Duval, still doesn't appear comfortable
on links courses.
Britain's Lee Westwood may represent Europe's best chance.
The world number five is in great form and has hardly missed a
putt all year.
Others who could make an impression include current
European Order of Merit leader Darren Clarke, Sergio Garcia of
Spain, Zimbabwe's Nick Price, Swede Jesper Parnevik and Singh.
One man who almost certainly won't win but who is
guaranteed the greatest of receptions is Jack Nicklaus, making
his final British Open appearance at the course where he
triumphed in 1970 and 1978.
British Open officials have acted to reduce the severity
of the St Andrews bunkers after damning criticism from some of
the world's top players.
The bunkers, already regarded as some of the most formidable
traps in the game, were revamped for the Open but the results
have this week been described as "silly" "over the top" and
But the bunker that has probably ended more dreams than
any is the fearsome "Road" which guards the hole of the same
name - the par four 17th.
In the third round of the 1978 Open, Japan's Tommy
Nakajima had a putt for a birdie three there and a share of
He missed, and watched in horror as the ball rolled away
and dropped into the Road Bunker. It took him four shots to
get out and when he finally trudged off the green it was with
a disastrous nine on his card.
In 1984 Tom Watson also came to grief there.
2-1 Tiger Woods (U.S.)
10-1 Ernie Els (South Africa)
14-1 Colin Montgomerie (Britain)
14-1 Lee Westwood (Britain)
20-1 Phil Mickelson (U.S.)
22-1 David Duval (U.S.)
28-1 Tom Lehman (U.S.)
28-1 Jim Furyk (U.S.)
28-1 Retief Goosen (South Africa)
33-1 Nick Price (Zimbabwe)
33-1 Davis Love III (U.S.)
33-1 Darren Clarke (Britain)
33-1 Vijay Singh (Fiji)
33-1 Jesper Parnevik (Sweden)
40-1 Justin Leonard (U.S.)
40-1 Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spain)
40-1 Michael Campbell (New Zealand)
40-1 Sergio Garcia (spain)
40-1 Nick Faldo (Britain)
50-1 and upwards others
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