Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thomson on Tiger

Here's a British Open note that got bumped from the paper...

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- If Peter Thomson knows what he’s talking about, Tiger Woods could win eight straight British Opens.

“I’m serious about it,” Thomson said this week. “If I can do three or five, then Tiger can certainly do better than that.”

Thomson, of course, is the last man to win three straight Opens (1954-56) – and the only player to do it in the modern era. He and his record are in all their glory this week at Carnoustie because Woods, with back-to-back wins at St. Andrews in 2005 and Royal Liverpool in last year, is gunning to match Thomson’s record this week.

Two other long-gone players, Jamie Anderson (1877-79) and Bob Ferguson (1882-82) won three straight Opens. But the list of twofers who fizzled going for three-in-a-row is long and impressive: Old Tom Morris, J.H. Taylor, Harry Vardon, James Braid,, Bobby Jones, Bobby Locke, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino.

Thomson, winner of five Opens over his career, not only doesn’t count Woods out for three straight, he believes he could raise the bar to unthinkable heights – eight straight.

“I nearly went five in a row,” said Thomson, 77, a native Aussie. “The fourth one I sort of threw away, not quite the way Mickelson did, but I finished second at St. Andrews at my fourth run. And I felt I should have won that if I had been a bit smarter. But then I won the next one.”

If Woods does pull off the three-peat this week, Thomson will be there to congratulate him. “I’d be as proud to be linked with his name as with three-in-a-row.

Thomson thinks the only thing standing between Woods and eight straight is illness, desire and preparation and, potentially, weather.

Thomson also takes his hat off to Tom Watson, the only other modern-era player with five Open titles.

“He’s still walking around winning, too, I believe,” said Thomson.

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