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Old July 14, 2012, 01:16 AM
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TIGER's BLOG

It's been awhile since my last column, so I thought it would be a good time to check in before the British Open next week. I recently won my third tournament of the year at the AT&T National, and feel good about my game heading across the pond to compete at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

I have to give a shout-out to my former Stanford teammate Notah Begay III. We just talked about putting philosophy; how I used to putt and what I used to do. He remembers how I used to putt in college, and I liked some of his thoughts and some of the things he was referring to. I started thinking about it, and I started doing it, and I started putting well again.



Now, I'm focused on the British Open. This will be my third visit to Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where I tied for 22nd as an amateur in 1996 and tied for 25th in 2001. I like the golf course, but I know they have made some changes since we played there in '01. I think they lengthened a few holes, so it will play different. Plus in '01, it was pretty dry and firm. They've had a very wet summer, as we saw at Wimbledon, and the golf course is pretty soft.

Weather plays such a huge role in the tournament. It will be interesting to see how the course is set up. It's different, because we're not really on the water -- we're slightly inland. That train track that runs right along the golf course gets a lot of use that week. But there have been some great matches there.

The time change is easy because I play all over the world. It's getting used to the conditions that week. Each British Open has its own little quirks.

For instance, Hoylake was burnt out; some years at St. Andrews, the wind blew hard; this year, it will be a little bit softer than it normally plays. But we don't know if it's going to rain or blow, so that adds different challenges as the week develops. I'll bring my 5-wood and 2-iron, and decide which club to carry once I get there and feel out the conditions.

You can have so many different weather conditions. You just don't know. That's one of the unique things about the British Open and why it's my favorite major championship. It's the only tournament besides the sandbelt courses in Australia that we can actually use the ground as a friend and bounce the ball into the greens. Modern golf is all up in the air.

I want to offer my congratulations to Roger Federer for winning Wimbledon. We've been friends for a long time and he played fantastic tennis in the finals against Andy Murray.

I also want to offer my condolences to the wife and family of Peter Sauer. He played basketball when I attended Stanford and had a great career, captaining the Cardinal to the Final Four in 1998. Peter died last Sunday night during a pickup basketball game in White Plains, N.Y., at the age of 35, which is way too young. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading and look forward to catching up after the British Open.
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