Collin Morikawa says Tiger Woods is 'fighting' in bid to shine at St Andrews again in The Open

Collin Morikawa may be the defending champion in the 150th Open but he’s happy to see Tiger Woods grabbing the spotlight in the build up to the season’s final major at St Andrews.

Tiger Woods with caddie Joe LaCava during a practice round prior to The 150th Open at St Andrews. Picture: Harry How/Getty Images.
Tiger Woods with caddie Joe LaCava during a practice round prior to The 150th Open at St Andrews. Picture: Harry How/Getty Images.

Woods, a two-time winner of the event over the Old Course, is making his first appearance on Scottish soil since almost losing his right leg in a car crash in Los Angeles in February 2021.

He played in The Masters in April before withdrawing during the PGA Championship in May then sitting out last month’s US Open.

The 15-time major winner is back at his “favourite course in the world” for the season’s final major and Morikawa can sense the excitement in the Fife air.

“I think any time I'm able to see him, any time any of us are able to see him, we have to appreciate it because we don't know how many times he's going to play here. He might play one. He might play ten. Who knows?” said the two-time major winner.

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“Any time you're able to be around someone like that where you've idolised him for so long, it's amazing.”

Woods always seemed to be a bit of a loner at the height of his career, but he’s opened up a bit in recent years to the likes of Morikawa and Justin Thomas.

“He can call it whatever he wants, but it's cool to say I'm going to call it a friendship,” added Morikawa, who won on his Open debut at Royal St George’s last year, having already achieved the same feat in the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park.

“Whatever this relationship, this friendship that we have, it's gone past the I'm in awe and I'm in shock to now you can joke around and you can talk to him, and you can give him a call if I really needed something. I've never done it. I'm actually scared to (laughter).”

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Woods looked to be a struggling a bit when he played 18 holes at St Andrews on Sunday for the second day running, raising fears that he might struggle again physically this week, even though the Old Course is flat in comparison to Augusta National and Southern Hills.

“He's such a competitor that that's what's awesome about him. Even though he's gone through everything he's gone through,” said Morikawa.

“I know he's fighting it. I talked to him a few months ago about everything he has to do just to walk every day, it's amazing. It just shows you how much grit and determination he wants to have to get back on top and to win another event. I fully understand why.”

Like a number of the other current top players, Morikawa is playing the Old Course for the first time this week. “I love it. I can see why guys love it. I can see how special this week can be,” said the Californian. I can see how the course can play a million different ways, depending on the weather. Looks like we're going to get some pretty consistent weather and some wind patterns this week.

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“I think overall you've just got to be ready to play some good golf out here because you're going to get some good bounces and probably some bad ones.”

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