Tiger Woods is “very confident” his recent elbow injury will not hinder his chances of a 15th major title in next week’s Open Championship at Muirfield.
Woods has not played since the US Open at Merion last month, where he exacerbated an injury to his left elbow first suffered during his victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass in May.
“I started chipping and putting a little over a week ago and I’m full go for the British Open,” the world number one wrote on his official website.
“I’m very confident that my left elbow strain won’t be a problem and I will be able to hit all the shots I need to hit. That’s why I took the time off, so it could heal, and I would feel comfortable playing again.
“I’m still taking anti-inflammatory medication for my elbow and getting treatment, but the big thing at Muirfield Golf Club will be to avoid the rough.”
Woods was on course for the Grand Slam the last time Muirfield staged the Open in 2002 after winning the Masters and US Open, but saw his hopes blown away by a third round of 81 in terrible weather.
“This marks my second trip to Muirfield. My first visit in 2002 didn’t go very well,” added the 37-year-old, whose last major victory was the 2008 US Open.
“I caught the worst of the weather and wound up tying for 28th. That’s just the nature of links golf. Luck plays a big part in it, and you never know what you’re going to get.
“Muirfield is one of the hardest courses in Scotland. The front nine is basically played clockwise and the back nine is played counter-clockwise and on the inside of the front nine.
“You have to shape the golf ball both ways, and you never know what’s going to come off that water as far as wind. It can change directions.
“If the wind switches, you can be aggressive on certain holes and others you have to be conservative.
“That’s the neat thing about a British Open: you just never know what type of conditions you’re going to get each day.
“I love the creativity of being able to hit shots and utilise the ground as an asset. That’s something that we don’t have in the States; we don’t really play that game here.
“I loved playing links golf right away. My first time over here was in 1995 playing Carnoustie and St Andrews. That was a pretty good education.
“It takes a little bit of understanding about how to control the ball on the ground and how much it’s going to release that particular week. Some weeks, it releases a lot more than others.
“The majority of the fans at the Open Championship understand how difficult some of the shots are. If you hit a 3-iron into a green and wind up 50 feet away, you get pretty good applause because they know how difficult a shot that is.
“As far as strategy, it’s all dependent on set-up. I don’t know how fast the fairways are going to be, if drivers are going to be running out 60 or 70 yards. And will it be hard to control the ball on the ground, or will it be soft and the ball is not running out as much?
“Although I have been playing every day, I also have to get back into a competitive feel.
“The practice rounds are going to be important for how that particular golf course is playing.
“Whether we’re going to need to hit the ball higher or lower, what the conditions are and what the weather is going to be. It’s a little different than Florida. I’ll just bring an