LYLE SEES A TIGER HAT-TRICK
Former Open winner Sandy Lyle will not be surprised if Tiger Woods wins the championship.
Former Open winner Sandy Lyle will not be surprised if Tiger Woods wins the championship for the third time in a row at Carnoustie this week.
Woods, 31, is aiming to become only the second modern-day golfer to win the tournament in three successive years, following in the footsteps of Peter Thomson who achieved the feat between 1955 and 1957.
Lyle, who captured the famous old trophy in 1985 at Sandwich, told PA Sport: “For someone who has never really grown up on a links course, Tiger’s ability to play links courses has never failed to amaze me.
” His course management is so good. He generally comes over earlier and plays the Irish courses like Tom Watson used to do and he adapts very quickly to links and his record proves that.
“I always thought it was possible (that someone could win the Open three times in a row).
“When you get someone like a Tiger or a Tom Watson, when he was playing well, they just seem to perform so well when they play in the Open Championship, even though they play on a different course every year.
“If you had asked me if an individual could win a major by so many shots, I would say you were pulling my leg.
“But when Tiger is winning the Masters by, I think, 12 shots and the US Open by 15, that is more of an unbelievable record than winning the Open three years in a row.”
The course was criticised in 1999 for its toughness but after stepping off the 18th tee at Carnoustie following his second practise round of the week, Lyle remarked upon the improvements made for this year’s competition.
He said: “The course is very good, playing very fair and everything that was said about the course eight years ago has been taken to heart and it has been sorted out.
“It is long in places and there is a run on the fairways but the greens are very good.
“It will be a test but it is an open competition and the course could suit a number of players.
“It brings a lot more players in to the game rather than it being so tight that you are down to a handful of potential winners.
“The wind will be a factor but there will be a lot of big-hitters out here who hit the ball a million miles with no nerves so we will see.
“But in general, course conditions are as good as you can get.”
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