Golf

Tiger: “I know how close it feels”

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Tiger: “I know how close it feels”

BY JEFF SLADE 

Tiger Woods spoke to the media Tuesday in a press conference for the 2015 Quicken Loans National. 

The Tournament, benefiting his own Tiger Woods Foundation, is set to take place this week at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club is Gainesville, VA. 

Woods is coming off a disastrous British Open performance at St. Andrews; in what has been a disappointing 2015 season thus far. 

The now 258th ranked golfer in the world acknowledges his own struggles, but still has hope he’ll turn it around. 

“I’ve done it before,” Tiger said. “I’ve gone through this. 

“Has it been fun going through this? No it hasn’t. 

“Sometimes I have to get a little bit worse before I can make giant strides forward.” 

Well – he looks to have completed the first part of the equation, and now it’ll soon be time to see if the “giant strides forward” he mentions come. 

As Tiger explained, it may not be as big a difference as some realize. 

“I just need a couple shots here or there and it turns the tide,” he said.

“I know how close it feels. 

“People don’t really realize how close it is between a person whose winning and a person missing the cut. It’s not as big a gap as people might think.”

GALLERY: 10 to watch at 2015 Quicken Loans National

Tiger thinks the venue this week will be an exciting one, noting it will probably play “on the difficult side” and that “the ball flies forever here.”

One of the most accomplished players in the sport’s history, Tiger without a doubt does not enjoy the growing pains.

“It’s frustrating not being able to win golf tournaments,” he said. 

“I haven’t done much in the last couple of years…That’s what Joey keeps reminding me of, ‘Would you just relax, you haven’t played that much.’ 

“You won five times two years ago, it’s not that far removed.

“Hopefully I start playing the way I know I can play,” he stated.

He’ll need to if wants to continue playing this season. The WGC Bridgestone Invitational is a week away, and Woods will need a victory at RTJ if he wants to be invited to a Tournament he has won eight times.

“Unfortunately, I can’t get an invite there unless I win,” he said.

However, as he continued, he “might as well earn it.” 

MORE QUICKEN LOANS NATIONAL: Woods, Fowler highlight strong RTJ field

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

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Golf Channel

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

Tiger Woods carded a front-nine five-over-par 41 during his first round of the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

It looked bad from the very beginning as he pulled an iron off the first tee into the fescue on the left and grimaced.

That's not just any "Aw shucks, I hit it in the rough" grimace. That's the grimace of a 43-year-old with a fused spine playing golf in cold, windy and rainy weather after not playing competitive golf since the U.S. Open about a month ago.

Woods said that the chilly, damp weather at Pebble Beach made it difficult for him to get loose during the U.S. Open, which would make it a fair assumption that the 15-time major winner is struggling with his back in similar weather at Royal Portrush.

But if there's anybody who can overcome physical issues on the course, it's Tiger Woods. He did, after all, win the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg. He seemed to weather the storm with a world-class par on the first after two poor shots. He had makeable birdie opportunities on the second and third holes, but missed both.

Then the squares on the scorecard came. Woods went bogey, double-bogey, bogey, par, bogey, bogey between the fifth and 10th holes. He hasn't looked particularly comfortable at any point during the round.

That reality has drawn reactions from just about everybody watching. 

It hasn't gone much better for Big Cat since. As somebody who moves the needle more than anybody else in the sport, nobody wants to watch him play like this. There's still some time left in Round 1, but things aren't looking good for Woods.

2019 Open Championship: How to watch, TV Channel, Tee Times, Groupings, Odds

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USA Today Sports Images

2019 Open Championship: How to watch, TV Channel, Tee Times, Groupings, Odds

For the first time in 68 years, the golfing world will convene in Northern Ireland for a major championship, as Royal Portrush Golf Club will host the 148th Open Championship.

The final major of the season will provide an unfamiliar test for players of all ranks, as many have never before played this links course nestled along the northern Irish coast.

Rory McIlroy will be competing for a major title in his home country for the first time. The world No. 3 is having one of his strongest seasons in recent memory, winning two tournaments and finishing inside the top-10 at the most recent two majors. McIlroy, looking for his first major title since 2014, is the betting favorite in Vegas (8-1). Why not win the next one on home soil?

As with any major, all eyes will be on Tiger Woods. He has never played Royal Portrush, but his three Open Championship titles illustrate that he knows how to win across the pond. Woods has not teed it up for a competitive round since last month's U.S. Open, but many will anticipate a strong showing this weekend.

World No. 1 Brooks Koepka will continue to be a favorite in every major until he proves otherwise. The bomber has won four major titles since June of 2017 and has finished no worse than runner-up in this year's three previous major championships. Although his results have fallen off since his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open last month, Koepka can never be counted out on the big stage.

With many other tantalizing storylines and plenty of golfers with a realistic chance to win this week, sit back, relax and watch as many hours of golf as you can:

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP HOW TO WATCH:

What: The 148th Open Championship

When: Thursday, July 18th – Sunday, 21st

Where: Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland

DAY 1 COVERAGE (Thursday, July 18):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 1:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Golf Channel)

DAY 2 COVERAGE (Friday, July 19):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 1:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Golf Channel)

DAY 3 COVERAGE (Saturday, July 20):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 5 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. (NBC)

DAY 4 COVERAGE (Sunday, July 21):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 4 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. (NBC)

All four rounds of the tournament can also be streamed online at GolfChannel.com, TheOpen.com and NBCSports.com.

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST ROUND TEE TIMES (ET), GROUPINGS (ALL OFF No. 1):

1:35 a.m. -- Darren Clarke, James Sugrue (a), Charley Hoffman
1:46 a.m. -- Emiliano Grillo, Sung Kang, Thomas Thurloway (a)
1:57 a.m. -- Andy Sullivan, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Alexander Levy
2:08 a.m. -- Chan Kim, Zander Lombard, Brandon Wu (a)
2:19 a.m. -- Richard Sterne, Romain Langasque, Matthias Schmid (a)
2:30 a.m. -- Padraig Harrington, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andrew Putnam
2:41 a.m. -- Bubba Watson, Eddie Pepperell, Rafa Cabrera-Bello
2:52 a.m. -- Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Branden Grace
3:03 a.m. -- Alex Noren, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Sam Locke
3:14 a.m. -- Webb Simpson, C.T. Pan, Sergio Garcia
3:25 a.m. -- Ryan Palmer, Andrea Pavan, Dylan Frittelli
3:36 a.m. -- Kyle Stanley, Andrew Johnston, Robert Macintyre
3:47 a.m. -- Mikko Korhonen, Oliver Wilson, Curtis Knipes (a)
4:03 a.m. -- Ian Poulter, Sungjae Im, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
4:14 a.m. -- Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, Graeme McDowell
4:25 a.m. -- Haotong Li, Russell Knox, Bernd Wiesberger
4:36 a.m. -- Jason Kokrak, Connor Syme, Austin Connelly
4:47 a.m. -- Zach Johnson, David Duval, Corey Conners
4:58 a.m. -- Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott
5:09 a.m. -- Rory McIlroy, Gary Woodland, Paul Casey
5:20 a.m. -- Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner
5:31 a.m. -- Jim Furyk, Si Woo Kim, Jimmy Walker
5:42 a.m. -- Luke List, Alexander Bjork, Paul Waring
5:53 a.m. -- Shugi Imahira, Nate Lashley, Benjamin Hebert
6:04 a.m. -- Mikumu Horikawa, Callum Shinkwin, Garrick Porteous
6:15 a.m. -- Prom Meesawat, Matthew Baldwin, Jack Senior
6:36 a.m. -- Tom Lehman, Joaquin Niemann, Miguel Angel Jimenez
6:47 a.m. -- Ben An, Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood
6:58 a.m. -- Joel Dahmen, Adri Arnaus, Dimitrios Papadatos
7:09 a.m. -- Stewart Cink, Rory Sabbatini, Innchoon Hwang
7:20 a.m. -- Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Jake McLeod
7:31 a.m. -- Ryan Fox, Shaun Norris, Dongkyu Jang
7:42 a.m. -- Tyrrell Hatton, Keith Mitchell, Thomas Pieters
7:53 a.m. -- Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjorn Olesen
8:04 a.m. -- Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Shubhankar Sharma
8:15 a.m. -- Billy Horschel, Aaron Wise, Jazz Janewattananond
8:26 a.m. -- Jordan Spieth, Danny Willett, Marc Leishman
8:37 a.m. -- Cameron Smith, Adam Hadwin, David Lipsky
8:48 a.m. -- Paul Lawrie, Chez Reavie, Justin Harding
9:04 a.m. -- Takumi Kanaya (a), Tom Lewis, Brandon Stone
9:15 a.m. -- Lucas Glover, Joost Luiten, Nino Bertasio
9:26 a.m. -- Ernie Els, J.B. Holmes, Abraham Ancer
9:37 a.m. -- Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Brian Harman
9:48 a.m. -- Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Lucas Bjerregaard
9:59 a.m. -- Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley
10:10 a.m. -- Tiger Woods, Matt Wallace, Patrick Reed
10:21 a.m. -- Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Matt Kuchar
10:32 a.m. -- Kevin Streelman, Doc Redman, Robert Rock
10:43 a.m. -- Adrian Otaegui, Yuta Ikeda, Isidro Benitez
10:54 a.m. -- Patton Kizzire, Sang Hyun Park, Yuki Inamori
11:05 a.m. -- Yoshinori Fujimoto, Doyeob Mun, Andrew Wilson
11:16 a.m. -- Gunn Charoenjul, Yosuke Asaji, Ashton Turner

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP TOP-10 ODDS & NOTABLES (as of July 16th):

Rory McIlroy: 8-1
Brooks Koepka: 10-1
Dustin Johnson: 16-1
John Rahm: 16-1
Tiger Woods: 16-1
Justin Rose: 20-1
Francesco Molinari: 25-1
Xander Schauffele: 25-1
Henrik Stenson: 28-1
Tommy Fleetwood: 28-1
Justin Thomas: 30-1
Matt Kuchar: 30-1
Rickie Fowler: 30-1
Jordan Spieth: 35-1
Phil Mickelson: 100-1