Thursday, 19 September, 2019

148th Open underway at Royal Portrush

Tiger Woods has spoken very favourably about the challenge awaiting the field in this week's Open Championship Tiger Woods has spoken very favourably about the challenge awaiting the field in this week's Open Championship
Shannon Reynolds | 18 July, 2019, 13:59

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club.

THE X MAN: Xander Schauffele, who has played so well in the majors this season - T2, T16, T3 - and was runner-up at last year's Open, started with birdies in his first two holes and then moved to 3 under through five before suffering a bogey at the sixth.

World number four Justin Rose is the highest-ranked Englishman in the field as he seeks to add to his lone major victory - the 2013 US Open - while Tommy Fleetwood, who has seaside nous given he grew up playing the great links of Southport, says he is expecting Portrush to feel like a "home" venue.

"I'm kind of switching it".

McIlroy believes that playing Portrush off the fairway is essential, especially if it's as wet as is forecast for the rest of the week. This year, the month of August is all about the Tour Championship after things wrap up in Northern Ireland, so this weekend is the last time golf will be on the mainstream radar until 2020.

"Just the roar he got when he showed up on the first tee is definitely one of the loudest I've ever heard on the golf course".

"If I can somehow get out of the blocks tomorrow, get myself settled down, and get into the mix this weekend, it would be pretty cool to be coming back down on Sunday", he said.

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McIlroy won his fourth and most recent major at the 2014 PGA Championship, the same year he won his only Open title at Royal Liverpool.

"It's not quite as sharp as I'd like to have it right now", Woods said Tuesday. "And I think as well it will be a massive thing for the country". It's as simple as that.

"I remember asking my Mum and Dad, is this actually what happened?" While most of us are drawn to the Indian Ocean for its turquoise waters, white sand and the best snorkelling and diving in the world, one island has a nine-hole golf course. "Although honestly, I don't care how it looks, if it looks pretty or not, as long as I win the event". "I think I was making it a little bigger in my head than it needed to be".

"But the weather also hasn't been the same".

All six Irish players have early tee times.

"The shirt I wanted to wear didn't come from the dry cleaners in time", Rahm explained. So I'm really just treating it as a wonderful experience, I'm going to love being out there and having the crowds and having the support.

"But I got here, and it's still the same place".

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