The Open: Sir Nick Faldo on Tiger Woods' hopes at St Andrews; Rory McIlroy on 'title defence I never had'
Woods, a three-time winner of The Open, is returning to the venue where he claimed a record-breaking victory in 2000 and enjoyed further success in 2005; Watch The 150th Open exclusively live this week on Sky Sports' dedicated channel - Sky Sports The Open
Last Updated: 10/07/22 4:26pm
Sir Nick Faldo has played down Tiger Woods’ hopes of contending for a 16th major title at The 150th Open and has questioned whether St Andrews could be the venue where the former world No 1 calls time on his glittering major career.
Woods has made just two official starts since suffering career-threatening injuries to his leg and ankle in last February's car crash, two months on from undergoing back surgery for a fifth time, with the 82-time PGA Tour winner previously ruling out a full-time return to the sport.
The 46-year-old withdrew after three rounds of the PGA Championship in May and elected to sit out last month's US Open in Brookline last month due to injury, although he has been adamant about a return to the Old Course since exclusively telling Sky Sports after The Masters in April.
Woods told reporters on his return to action at the JP McManus Pro-Am - where he finished tied-19th and 17 strokes behind winner Xander Schauffele - that he was relishing the chance to compete at St Andrews once again, having won there in 2000 and 2005, with the three-time Open champion wanting to "give it at least one more run at a high level."
When asked whether Woods had any hope of challenging for major victory this week and a first at The Open since 2006, Faldo told Sky Sports News: "I don't think there's chances, no,"
"Physically, he played at Adare Manor and was in a cart for a couple of days to rest the leg. The physical challenge is just walking a golf course and even though St Andrews looks flat, there's so many twisting undulations walking that course, it's going to be physically really hard work for him.
"Even if Tiger was fit and strong, he doesn't play much, and these kids [world's top players] are young and strong. Who knows what we're going to get from Tiger, where he mentally is and what he's thinking.
"If you're going to retire then this is the place to retire, but is it too early? What does he know and what does he believe about his leg or his golf game? What possibilities are out there? I don't know - Tiger always keeps this very close to his chest."
The Open will welcome the highest attendance in its history to St Andrews, with 290,000 expected over tournament week, with Faldo admitting it's tough to predict a winner in the final men's major of the year.
"St Andrews is so special," Faldo added. "It's such a historic town, great atmosphere and the golf course is one of the greatest in the world - it's a different challenge but it's a historic challenge. Looking at the top 15 in the world, I would be surprised if you got a winner from outside of that because they're all so strong.
"Right now, Scotland is getting some beautiful sunny but really windy weather. If it's a stern test, which we would obviously love, then there's quite a bit of emphasis on the luck of the draw and how you cope with that for the four days. Having said that, I think you've got to look at the obvious names."
Can Rory McIlroy impress at St Andrews?
McIlroy led from start to finish to win the 2014 Open at Royal Liverpool, but was prevented from attempting to retain the Claret Jug on the Old Course the following year after suffering an ankle injury playing football.
That means it is 12 years since the world No 2 last contested The Open at St Andrews, when he started with a brilliant 63, slumped to a second round of 80 in terrible weather and fought back to finish in a tie for third.
"I can't go into The Open approaching it like I've got unfinished business at this golf course," McIlroy told TheOpen.com. "You know I feel like there's enough pressure on me anyway without putting more on myself.
"But it's one that I've been looking forward to for a long, long time - 12 years. I want to just make sure that I'm in the best possible shape to go there.
"I'm playing well, I'm playing some of the best golf I've played in a long time. I've played well in the majors this year without getting the win, but I've contended in all of them really. So it's a good opportunity."
When is The Open live on Sky Sports?
Sky Sports The Open will show over 80 hours of live coverage from the iconic Old Course at St Andrews, more than ever before, with live programming on all seven days of tournament week and a host of bonus extra features available to enjoy.
Live coverage from the opening two rounds will begin at 6.30am - before the opening tee shot - and run through until after play is finished, with wall-to-wall coverage live from 9am on Saturday and 8am for Sunday's final round.
There will be lots of extra action throughout all four days via the red button on Sky Sports The Open, along with Sky Q and Sky Glass, with Featured Groups and Featured Holes available to enjoy as the world's best players tackle the Home of Golf.
Watch The 150th Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports' dedicated channel. Live coverage begins on Monday with "Live From The Range" at 9am on Sky Sports The Open!