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Tiger Woods IS in contention to win the Open for the fourth time in his career, insists Rory McIlroy… with Northern Irishman claiming 15-time major winner is still the master of the ‘chess game on a golf course’

Tiger Woods is a contender to win the Open for the fourth time in his career on the 150th anniversary of the major, according to Rory McIlroy.

The 15-time major winner won two of his three Open titles at the Old Course in St Andrews in 2000 and 2005, with his 2006 triumph coming at Hoylake.

‘The way the golf course is and the way the conditions are, I could certainly see it,’ McIlroy said of Woods’ chances.

‘It’s going to be a game of chess this week, and no one’s been better at playing that sort of chess game on a golf course than Tiger over the last 20 years.’

Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, McIlroy added: ‘A healthy Tiger Woods means a healthy golf. He brings more interest.

‘There was a chance where we might never have seen him again so the fact he is here says a lot about him, what the game of golf means to him, and what competing in an Open means to him.

‘He’s a legend not just in golf but in all of sport and even though we’re not going to see him as much as we used to it’s great to have him around.’

McIlroy, meanwhile, admitted his confidence levels are as high as they have been for years ahead of the 150th Open Championship.

The 33-year-old lifted the Claret Jug in 2014 and won his fourth major title in the US PGA a month later, but has not won one of the game’s biggest titles since.

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