Tiger Woods: Why He Possesses The Momentum at The Open Championship

Will Leivenberg@@will_leivenbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2010

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - JULY 12:  Tiger Woods of the USA during practice for the 139th Open Championship on the Old Course, St Andrews on July 12, 2010 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Tiger Woods has been modifying his golf game like a chef refining his recipe.

Sometimes, like Tiger's top-5 finishes at both major championships this season, it tastes delicious and is rewarded with fabulous reviews. But other times, well, the taste is so unexpectedly foul that it baffles the mind (Tiger's missed cut and withdrawal).

This week, when the British Open tees off at the timeless Old Course at St. Andrews, Tiger just may have found the missing ingredients.

First, Woods staggered the media (a bit of a role reversal) when he unveiled a brand new putter, effectively replacing one that he had used for 11 years and that guided him through 13 major championships.

Second, in an ESPN interview, Tiger said, without the slightest bit of hesitation, that he feels he has regained his ability to 'hit more shots,' meaning maneuver the ball in either direction and change the trajectory.

If Tiger can produce an array of golf shots—from his notorious low stinger to his sky-high fades—that will undoubtedly be the ultimate game-changer.

Tiger's ability to fuse visualization and execution of shots has been one of the most outstanding elements of his golf game since he entered the professional tour. 

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The truth is, the putter change is being given a ton of unnecessary hype. Tiger is such a marvelous putter, especially under the pressure of a major championship, that he could be putting with a piece of bark on the greens at St. Andrews and still drop putts like it was a clinic.

However, in that one sentence—"I am able to hit more shots"—Tiger revealed a palpable sense of restored confidence.

Though Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, and Ernie Els have all won two PGA Tour events this season and Phil Mickelson remains on the cusp of overtaking Tiger's No.1 World Ranking, there sure seems to be a lot of momentum going Woods' way.

He's won the British Open twice at St. Andrews (2000, 2005), finished in the top-5 in the last two majors, and for a guy with 71 PGA Tour victories (3rd all-time) you have to imagine he is ravenous for a victory and Sunday smooch.

Whether you are an established major winner like Phil Mickelson or an up-and-coming golf star like Edoardo Molinari, anyone participating in the British Open better watch out for Tiger Woods.

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