Tiger Woods heading for this year's Irish Open: rumours

Tiger Woods heading for this year's Irish Open: rumours

Tiger Woods heading for this year's Irish Open: rumours

Woods has previously jetted to Ireland to play the island's world-famous links courses in the build-up to the only major to be played outside America but has never before teed it up at the Irish Open.

Woods is playing the first two rounds alongside Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Follow along to find out.

Woods was coming off a shaky performance at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he struggled on the greens, didn't make a birdie during the final round on Sunday and tied for 55th.

Despite the large galleries that were sometimes six- or seven-deep, Woods got off to a sluggish start, hitting only two fairways and two bogeys over the first seven holes.

I felt like today the way I was hitting the golf ball, especially toward the back nine, that I felt like I should have shot something in the 60s, but didn't do it, said Woods afterwards.

A further six players, including defending champion, Si Woo Kim of Korea and former Sawgrass victor Matt Kuchar, share seventh place.

"(Tomorrow) is supposed to be the hottest day of the week, so the ball will (fly) forever and this golf course won't be playing very long". I kind of thought that was going to lead into something on the back.

It's the dream pairing golf fans yearn for, but Phil Mickelson has upped the ante and called out Tiger Woods for a separate high-stakes shootout. On Thursday, Woods gained strokes everywhere except off the tee. That put Fowler at one over for the tournament after shooting a two-over 74 on Thursday, leaving him outside the cut line.

"I'd love to play Carnoustie again as I played there in the Scottish Open in 1995 and in 1999 in The Open", he said.

And Tiger Woods believes he should have been in the chasing pack.

"I actually really like it", he said.

Fowler, who teed off just in front of Mickelson on the hole, didn't do any better, also hitting his tee shot into the drink en route to a double of his own.

"Rory (McIlroy) is committed to helping build the strongest field we can get and I am sure he has taken the time to chat with the guys on the PGA Tour informally".

Dubai Duty Free's decision to commit to sponsoring the event for another four years was a major boost as it means there is a minimum prize fund of $7 million which makes it a highly appealing option for the top players in the game.

"Now, I don't know if he wants a piece of me", the left-hander added with a grin.

"To sit here 12 months ago and you would have said, 'Yeah, you're going to be playing The Players Championship and you're going to have had a chance to win a couple of events this year, ' I would have said, 'You've got to be kidding me".

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