New Tiger in town for Open as Christensen qualifies in Woods’ absence
Ankle surgery has ruled out 15-time major winner Tiger Woods from playing in The Open at Royal Liverpool but there will be a new Tiger in town for the week, with a German amateur carrying the name at Hoylake.
Tiger Christensen came through final qualifying at West Lancashire Golf Club in Crosby, near Liverpool, earlier this month to book his major debut.
But the United States-based 19-year-old accepts the similarities end with sharing the same name, country of residence and preference for an orange-and-black striped animal driver headcover.
“He’s a pretty big inspiration. To me he’s the greatest of all time,” said the Arizona University student
“I think it’s really special what he’s done for the game, changed the entire game and made it more popular, and his achievements are just unbelievable.
“It’s something you could look up to.”
Referring to how he got his name he added: “It’s not only named after Tiger Woods – my dad has a very good friend who’s a retired boxer and his ring name was Tiger so it’s 50/50.”
“For me it’s never been (a burden) because it’s just my birth name. I’m glad to be called Tiger.
“I understand everything I’m ever going to do they are going to compare me to him straightaway but at the end of the day it’s a different time, I don’t have any connection to him. It’s just a name.”
But with a name like Tiger surely he was destined to become a golfer?
“I played a lot of football when I was younger and I always wanted to be a football pro until I was about 10 and then I started playing US kids tournaments and that is when I transitioned to wanting to become a golf professional,” added the Hamburg-born golfer, whose world ranking is above 3,700.
Christensen was the only amateur to make it through final qualifying across four venues, only three days after almost securing a place via the European Amateur Championship in Estonia.
A month earlier the teenager made his DP World Tour debut with an appearance in the Porsche European Open held in the city of his birth, although rounds of 80 and 79 saw him miss the cut by some distance on 13 over.
“I cope with pressure pretty good, although at the DP World Tour event there was a new pressure I hadn’t had in playing with spectators,” he said of his imminent Open appearance.
“Usually in amateur events only the final couple of groups, if you are playing well, get spectators but I think the DP World Tour event really helped me going into the Open.
“I’ve now had those couple of crowd experiences, the seriousness of everyone around the tournament and how professional it is, so I think that will help me a lot.
“I don’t want to sound cocky but I was pretty certain of qualifying. I played the US Open qualifying and fell just short. I felt it wasn’t far away.
“It’s going to be a great experience. I’m going to go with zero expectations and take it all in.
“But my final goal, which is supported by smaller goals, is to win as many majors as I can.”
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