During a very uncomfortable first press conference for Tiger Woods at the 2010 British Open, Woods was grilled about more than just his golf game. Questions about his personal life, and pending divorce were sprinkled in among queries about his struggling golf game.
Woods answers were not much different from the ones he has given in previous pressers leading up to the tournament. The last two times the British Open has been played on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Woods has come out victorious. He looks to continue his dominance at the 139th Open Championship despite not showing his usually impressive form after Thanksgiving last year.
November 2009 marked the beginning of Woods’ off-course problems going public. He is in the middle of divorce proceedings, and has refused to give any updates on the situation. Woods also maintains that his personal life has not hurt his golf game.
“It doesn’t impact it at all,” Woods said. “I’m here to play a championship, and this is the Open Championship at St. Andrews. I mean, this is as good as it gets. It’s the home of golf. I’m just like every other player in this field, really looking forward to getting out there and playing the Open Championship.”
The British media resembles their counterparts in New York, and are known for their tenacity when asking questions. They asked him if his divorce was finalized, and were stoned by no comment from Tiger. One reporter referenced Tom Watson’s criticism of Woods’ play at past events.
“Tom Watson has said you need to clean up your act on the golf course. He’s gone on record. Many of us over the years have heard you use the F word, we’ve seen you spit on the course, and we’ve seen you throw tantrums like chucking your clubs around. Are you willing to cut out all those tantrums this week and respect the home of golf?” one reporter asked.
Woods simply replied with, “I’m trying to become a better player and a better person, yes.”
Tiger took the high road this day, but was obviously annoyed by the line of questioning. He stuck to describing the type of game he would have to play to win the tournament.
“I’ve always been tempted to change my putter on slower greens and I’ve always struggled when greens are really slow,” Woods said. “I’ve always felt more comfortable when the greens are quick. I’ve always experimented with other putters throughout the years but I’ve never put one in play until now.”
PGA sportsbooks have set Woods as the favorite to win the 2010 British Open at 5/1 odds. Phil Mickelson will try to take the No. 1 world ranking from Woods, and is just behind Tiger in the betting lines at 16/1. Rory McIlroy is the top European favored at 16/1 odds.