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Tiger Woods spurns links practice ahead of the Open

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Woods to prepare for the Open in US

Tiger Woods has revealed he will not play any links golf in practice ahead of next week's Open at St Andrews.

The world number one traditionally gears up for the year's third major on various Irish links courses but instead will prepare at home in Florida.

Woods with has spent two days at the JP McManus Pro-Am in Limerick, but said he is returning to the US before flying to Scotland on Sunday or Monday.

When asked why, he replied: "I need to get home. See my kids."

Woods was speaking for the first time in Europe since he admitted cheating on his wife at an emotional press conference in February.

To win at the home of golf, it has such a special feeling

Tiger Woods

The 34-year-old, who spent five months out of the game when news of the sex scandal first emerged, compared his anguish over his marital difficulties to Swede Elin Nordgren to the death of his father.

"There are times in one's life when things get put in perspective," he said.

"One being when my father passed and obviously what I've been going through lately."

When asked about the state of his personal life, Woods replied tersely: "Everything's working itself out."

Woods, who finished fourth in both the Masters and the US Open at Pebble Beach last month, insisted his game was coming on as he bids for a 15th major title and third straight Open win at St Andrews.

The American won by eight shots in 2000 and by five strokes in 2005 and also clinched a third Open title at Hoylake in 2006.

But though he is foregoing any practise rounds on similar links-type seaside set-ups to St Andrews' Old Course, he stressed he is just as focused on lifting the Claret Jug, despite finishing tied for 46th in last weekend's AT&T National in Pennsylvania.

"I felt I made some good strides last week, I drove it great last week, I just putted terrible and finished way down the board," he said.

"Something I need to work on is my lag putting (long, well-weighted putts) and there will be a lot of long putts at St Andrews."

He added: "This is where it all started and to win at the home of golf, it has such a special feeling."

606: DEBATE

Woods was also asked for his thoughts on whether two of Britain's top hopes, US Open champion Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, could secure the Open title in Scotland.

Speaking of McDowell, he said: "Well I think when you win one [major] it gives you confidence because you know what it takes. It's hard to have that confidence if you haven't.

"He has proven to himself that he can do it. He did all the right things at the right times to win a championship like that.

"There are a lot of people [who can win] including Rory, who has won on our tour. So many young players have the talent and have had a lot of success around the world. It will be a fun test for everybody."

On Tuesday, Woods played alongside champion jockey AP McCoy and retired jockey Mick Fitzgerald at Adare Manor, a parkland course in County Limerick.

"There were no lows, it was highs all the way," said McCoy, who plays off a handicap of 14.

His caddie and best friend, Irish champion jockey Ruby Walsh, described Woods as a "gentleman" who was great company.

McCoy, from Co Antrim, hooked a drive on the sixth hole and his ball struck seven-year-old Stephen O'Loughlin, of Beaufort, Co Kerry, on the leg.

"I heard him crying when I got down there, so I got Tiger to sign a cap and gave it to him," he said.

"Funny enough, that stopped the crying."

McCoy said Woods was chatty and although he was not really interested in horse racing, he asked him a lot about a jockey's weight, hydration and diet regime.



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