Woods snubbed by World No. 1
Tiger Woods has revealed he was snubbed by Brooks Koepka after begging the world No 1 for an Open practice round.
Players used to queue up for the chance to play alongside Masters champion Woods, 43, in the run-up to the game's biggest tournaments, The Sun reports.
But the tide was turned when Woods texted four-time Major winner Koepka, 29, asking if he fancied a knock at Royal Portrush.
Koepka - who claimed his fourth big one when he defended the USPGA Championship in May - employs caddie Ricky Elliott, who is from Portrush and knows the course better than anyone.
But Woods' plea was totally ignored by Koepka, who didn't even bother to text the 15-time Major hero back.
Asked if he had been in touch with his compatriot for any insider info on the course this week, Woods said: "No, I have not. But I'll tell you a funny story.
"I texted Brooksie, congratulations on another great finish. What he's done in the last four Major championships has been just unbelievable.
This downhill hole can be just about reachable in one for the longest hitters if they get favourable conditions with the wind behind.
They will need a lucky bounce, though, with the many humps and bumps in the fairway prone to kicking the ball offline.
The rough is also particularly thick here, with the beach and sea over the back of the green all too eager to gobble up any approach hit slightly long. Be brave. But don't be stupid.
"To be so consistent, so solid. He's been in contention to win each and every Major Championship.
"And I said, 'hey, dude, do you mind if I tag along and play a practice round?'
"I've heard nothing."
Woods let out a big smile when admitting the snub. And it was some light relief at his expense after he defended his limited playing schedule, which he said he is doing so that he can play for longer.
The American, who said his game is not in great shape, has not played since last month's US Open and continues to nurse his surgically repaired back.
His decision not to play much has prompted criticism for former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.
But with an eye on the future, Woods said: "This year I made a conscious effort to cut back on my schedule to make sure that I don't play too much.
"I want to play here as long as I possibly can. And you have to understand, if I play a lot, I won't be out here that long.
"So it's understanding how much I can play, prepping how much I do at home and getting ready.
"And that's the tricky part is trying to determine how much tournament play I need to get the feel for the shots and also understanding where my body is."
WOODS DITCHES GUINNESS FOR OPEN ASSAULT
Tiger Woods has promised to stay off the Guinness during The Open at Royal Portrush this week - after necking one too many in the past.
Masters champion Woods, 43, used to travel to Ireland regularly on fishing trips with friends and indulged in a pint or several of the black stuff.
But he won't be tempted to knock any back this week after suggesting he previously struggled with some stout-induced hangovers.
Asked if he had drunk a pint of Guinness this week, Woods replied with a bashful smile: "This week? No, not this week. In the past? Um...."
Eddie Pepperell said he was hungover when charging up the leaderboard during the final round of last year's Open at Carnoustie.
And indulging in a pint might do Woods some help - at least more than he got from Brooks Koepka - after he admitted his game is not where he wants it heading into the season's final Major.
Woods, who was drinking water during his press conference, said: "My game is not quite as sharp as I'd like to have it right now.
"My touch around the greens is right where I need to have it. I still need to get the of the golf ball a little bit better than I am right now, especially with the weather coming in and the winds are going to be changing.
"I'm going to have to be able to cut the ball, draw the ball, hit at different heights and move it all around.
"Today it was a good range session. I need another one and hopefully that will be enough to be ready."
And he maintains that The Open, which he has won in 2000, 2005 and 2006 remains his best chance to catch Jack Nicklaus' record tally of 18 Majors.
Woods has 15 after winning April's Masters, and said: "The Open allows the players that don't hit the ball very far or carry the ball as far to run the golf ball out there. There is an art to playing links golf.
"Being able to control it as best you possibly can in the air to control it on the ground allows the older players to have a chance to do well in the Open Championship."
- This story originally appeared in thesun.co.uk and has been republished with permission