GULLANE, Scotland – Tiger Woods likes to play practice rounds early. Always has. Imagine he always will.
So when Woods walked to the 10th tee at 6:50 Monday morning at Muirfield he was not allowed to begin his round for another 10 minutes, and was told he had to begin on the first hole.
The “news” made more headlines here in the United Kingdom than anything else, including Lindsey Vonn walking inside the ropes with her new beau. The Tuesday headline in the Scottish Daily Mail read “A False Start” coupled with a photo of Woods chatting with a British Open official.
Really, it was not a big deal.
“I like getting up early, especially when the sun comes up at 4 in the morning,” Woods said. “It’s hard to sleep in.
“Peter (Dawson, the R&A chief executive) was explaining that he’s having the grounds crew cut it from No. 1 through 18 as a routine, to get them accustomed to that pattern for the championship. That’s one of the reasons why he wants us to tee off at 7 on the first tee. I totally understand it.”
Woods intends to stick with his plan of playing nine holes each day prior to the opening round. He first arrived here Sunday and played with Dustin Johnson and Jason Day. The strategy also helps assure that his previously ailing left elbow is fully rested.