Tiger Woods has historically performed well at the British Open, winning the major three times in his career.
But Woods will be facing some tough competitors this weekend at Muirfield in Scotland, including Masters champion Adam Scott, U.S. Open winner Justin Rose and veteran Phil Mickelson, who just captured the Scottish Open.
A good start at the historically-frustrating British Open certainly helps, of course. Fortunately for Tiger, he has generally started well at the tournament.
In his past five appearances at the British Open, Woods averaged a score of 68.2 in the first round. He registered a 67 three times in that span (2006, 2010, 2012). In 2006, he won the British Open, in 2010 he placed 23rd and in 2012 he placed third. His off-year was in 2009, when he posted a 71 in the first round en route to missing the cut (the only time he has ever missed the cut at the British Open).
Woods has generally played well in 2013. In nine PGA Tour events, he has notched five top-10 finishes, including a tour-best four victories (Matt Kuchar is second on tour with two wins).
On the other hand, Woods has not looked particularly impressive in his last two tournaments, placing 65th at the Memorial Tournament and 32nd at the U.S. Open. He posted a 71 in the first round at the Memorial and a 73 in the first round at the U.S. Open. That gives some cause for concern.
Then again, in 2012, Woods missed the cut at the Greenbrier Classic before finishing third at the British Open. In 2006, he missed the cut at the U.S. Open before winning the British Open. So, prior performance doesn't exactly mean a whole lot when it comes to Tiger and the British Open (although, performing well in 2013 can't hurt his case).
In that sense, why stray from the norm when predicting how Tiger will begin the 2013 British Open? He's been fairly consistent with his score in his past five appearances at the event, and it's hard to see him simply tanking at Muirfield.
Of course, Tiger performed well in at least one of his prior two tournaments headed into the British Open when he posted 67's in 2006, 2010 and 2012. He hasn't done that this year.
So, I'm not going to give Tiger a 67 in the first round this year, but I will give him a 68.
Real-Time Leaderboard Updates: The Open