Williams F1 drivers are ‘easy targets’ amid 2018 slump, says Stroll

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Harvick’s Michigan-win NASCAR Cup car used in windtunnel tests

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NASCAR Cup champion Truex ‘too nice’ in Bristol mayhem with Busch

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Tiger Woods makes Open admission about St Andrews ahead of visit to Carnoustie

Woods arrived at the Scottish course to the north of Dundee near 3pm Sunday local time accompanied by his caddy, Joe LaCarva and after a 30-minute session on the range he took to the very dry Carnoustie course.

Woods played just eight holes, the first to fourth inclusive and then crossed to the 15th to play the closing four holes.

It is the first time Woods will have contested an Open Championship since missing the halfway cut in the 2015 Open at St Andrews while it will be the fourth occasion he has teed-up in a Carnoustie Open.

Woods had finished T7th behind Scotland’s Paul Lawrie in 1999 and T12th in 2007 when Ireland’s Padraig Harrington won also in a play-off.

“I have missed playing in The Open a lot because it is our oldest tournament and coming here to Carnoustie is just special,” he said.

“This will be my fourth time playing The Open at Carnoustie and looking back when I first came here as an amateur (1999) compared to now it is just amazing the golf course has not really changed that much.

“It’s right in front of you. It’s hard and probably the most difficult one we play in the whole Open rotation.

“Right now, the fairways are faster than the greens, so I am sure it will be one of those weeks where the fairways will be a little quicker than the greens.”

In the eight holes the 42-year old played, Woods used the driver just once and that was on the fourth and with Woods, like most competitors out ahead of Monday’s first official practice round, hitting irons and fairway woods of the par-4s and par-5s.

“A key off the tees is how hot do you want the ball landing on the fairways as you can make the ball roll a further 60, 70 or 80-yards but the question whether it is worth it or not,” he said.

“On some of the holes you can fly the bunkers and again, it is one of those risk and reward golf courses given the way it is set-up right now as the fairways are going to play awfully narrow as it is playing so fast.”

And given Woods has not played an Open Championship links venue in three years, he insisted that was no disadvantage to him ahead of what will be his 20th Open.

“No, no I don’t have to relearn how to play this style of golf because I have played in so many Open’s and so many links courses over my career,” he said.

“You don’t get the chance to see Open venues this brown so often but then it was just like this in 2000 and also at Hoylake, as well.

“So, in saying that it will be a lot of fun.

“But then it is going to be one of those weeks where you will not see the guys hitting woods off the tee given the fairways are so quick as it going to be all about keeping the ball in front of you.

“It is going to be a week where the course will be quick and we are going to have to deal with it.”

Woods is returning to competition in some three weeks after sharing fourth place in hosting the Quicken Loans National and also admitting he has ‘work to do’ over the next three days of official practice if he is to end a five-year winless drought.

“My game is still thoroughly in development and I only played eight holes today, so I have a lot of work to do the next few days,” he said.

“There are different winds to today forecasted for the rest of the week so it will be nice to see the course in different conditions.

“My game was good for a Sunday before the start of the tournament but we have a long way to go.

“The thing is I have three more days to work on a few things and three days to get the feel of playing this style of golf, again.

“The easiest thing about playing this style of golf is that it is right in front of you and there also is not a lot of blind shots and only a couple here but part of the hardest thing in coming over here is the turf and how tight it is and how hard it can be.

“Like there were shots out there today where I was hitting a 7-iron off a par-4 and you just don’t do that very often and it is one of those feel things.

“What people don’t realise from watching on TV is the difference in landing your ball on a downslope compared to playing into an upslope and how many yards that can mean in a shot.

“And that is going to especially so this week given how quick the course is playing.”

And Woods confirmed that a proposed ‘winner takes all match’ against long-time former rival, Phil Mickelson is still in the planning stages.

“We are still working on it and it’s not there yet but we are trying to make it happen,” said Woods.

“Phil and I are friends and we are always trying to make each other uncomfortable and needle each other.”

And after fellow Masters champion, Patrick Reed joked that he would only watch Woods tackle Mickelson if they each put up their own money, Woods responded: “Of course, that is what Patrick would like to see and it would be good of him to put up that money (laughing)”.

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