If Tiger Woods needed any education on playing in golf’s birthplace, it came in the cruel wind off the Firth of Clyde and in the measured response of the fans at Royal Troon in Scotland.
Woods got his second look at Troon on a day when the wind blew from the wrong direction, the steel-gray clouds swallowed from view the Ailsa Craig, the 1,200-foot rock that towers above the Irish Sea, and heavy rain washed over the course.
And he learned from the fans that while Tigermania is alive and well in Britain, they are more concerned with his golf than with his persona.
Woods said he appreciates the local savvy.
While Woods has attracted millions of new fans to golf in the United States, they are clearly Tiger fans - swept up in the aura of a phenomenon - and not golf fans, some visiting a course for the first time. These fans at Troon know golf.
And Woods, who is looking to collect another major victory when play begins Thursday, is appreciating these fans almost as much as they enjoy his game.
Woods seemed at home in Scotland, where fans, told to wait until after the round for autographs, politely nod their heads rather than stalk off grumbling about the millions Woods is making.
Woods a big favorite to win
Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie might as well go home now.
The last four British Opens held at Troon were won by Americans, and Masters champion Woods is a big favorite to be No. 5.
He is a 5-1 shot to follow Arnold Palmer (1962), Tom Weiskopf (1973), Tom Watson (1982) and Mark Calcavecchia (1989). Els and Montgomerie have the next shortest odds at 10-1.
Women’s tour adds perks
The LPGA has unveiled the Lilly Legends, a $500,000 bonus pool for LPGA players 40-plus that starts this week and gives older female golfers their first financial incentive to keep playing.
The series’ champion gets $125,000.
The Legends, which start this week at the JAL Big Apple Classic in suburban New Rochelle, N.Y., awards points to players 40 and older in all full-field tournaments on the LPGA schedule. Points double at the Du Maurier Classic July 31-Aug. 3 and triple at the series-ending Healthsouth Inaugural next January.
There are no separate events, just more money to be won. But tour commissioner Jim Ritts said the concept would rapidly evolve into something for senior golfers that stands alone.
Colbert needs his rest
Jim Colbert is in no hurry to return to the Senior PGA Tour following prostate cancer surgery.
Colbert, 56, the Senior PGA Tour Player of the Year the past two years, underwent prostate cancer surgery June 23 at Green Hospital of Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif. His internist, Peter Sacks, diagnosed the cancer during a routine physical two weeks earlier.
Colbert said he will rest until he feels strong enough to return to the tour.
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