Strange: Don't bet your house on Tiger at Hoylake


Returning to the course where he last lifted the claret jug back in 2006, Tiger Woods will likely be focused on hoisting the trophy for the fourth time next week at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

But as Woods gets ready to make just his second competitive start since undergoing back surgery in March, one former major winner believes the 38-year-old's goals in England should be about more than winning.

"If he goes to Hoylake saying, 'I'm here to win and that's the only thing,' that would be him telling a lie to himself," Curtis Strange, a two-time U.S. Open champ and former Ryder Cup captain, told Reuters last week.

Woods missed the first two majors of the year while recovering from a pinched nerve in his back, and he missed the cut by four shots in his return to competition last month at the Quicken Loans National. According to Strange, Woods still has some work to do to return to the form that earned him five PGA Tour titles last year.

"Even before his surgery, and his form was obviously hampered by his physical condition, he wasn't playing well. So when you have an operation and you've been out for three months, you're not going to be a better player after doing that," Strange said, adding that Woods is "not 100 percent golf-fit yet."

Strange reiterated that Woods should temper his expectations as he continues his recovery, but he also hedged his bets somewhat when it came to whether Woods could possibly lift the trophy next week.

"I think he should go to Hoylake wanting to hit some good shots, wanting to get some confidence, some momentum with his swing, to get a feel for his short game," he said. "He could win it, of course, but it's not something you could bet your house on, I don't think."