Rose given chance to show inspired form

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-14 11:04
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Rose given chance to show inspired form

Past winners of the British Open golf championship pose in front of the clubhouse on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 13, 2010. [Agencies]

Tiger Woods will play alongside England's Justin Rose and Colombian Camilo Villegas for the first two rounds of the British Open at St Andrews this week.

Woods will be firmly in the spotlight as he attempts to claim a third successive victory at the home of golf, having won the title here by eight strokes in 2000 and five in 2005.

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It is Woods' first appearance at the tournament since the extra-marital affairs which caused a storm of controversy late last year and forced him to stay away from golf for several months.

Since his return, the 34-year-old has finished fourth at The Masters and US Open but his form has been as unpredictable as he tries to move on from the revelations about his serial adultery.

He will tee-off at 9:09 am on Thursday and 2:20 pm on Friday, with Rose, a winner of two of his past three tournaments in America, and Villegas destined to be overshadowed by the American.

It is not the first time Woods and Rose have been drawn together at the British Open.

Eight years ago at Muirfield, Rose outscored Woods 68 to 70 in the first round but followed it up with only a 75 to the American's 68.

Woods was the reigning Masters and US Open champion at the time, but his bid for golf's first Grand Slam of all four majors in one season was effectively ended by a round of 81.

Paul Lawrie, Britain's last winner of the Claret Jug, will hit the opening drive of the tournament - at 6:30 am on Thursday.

Current Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who has another chance to topple Woods as world No 1 this week, begins his challenge alongside Colin Montgomerie and Retief Goosen.

Montgomerie, Europe's Ryder Cup captain and runnerup to Woods in 2005, shot a course record 62 in qualifying at Sunningdale New a month ago to continue his run of playing in every Open since his debut at St Andrews in 1990.

Teeing off just behind Woods and Rose will be 60-year-old Tom Watson, loser of a playoff to Stewart Cink at Turnberry last year after incredibly leading by one with one to play.

Five-time champion Watson, now back at the course where he was second to Seve Ballesteros in 1984, partners twice winner Padraig Harrington and Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa.

Graeme McDowell, the US Open champion, plays with American Jim Furyk and Australian Geoff Ogilvy, while Cink starts his defense of the trophy alongside Ian Poulter and Ernie Els.


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