Tiger appears solid in shortened practice round

Tiger ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — When the sun rose over the Old Course at 4:40 this morning, Tiger Woods's alarm clock was about to go off.   As most people in town for the 150th anniversary of the Open Championship were still sleeping, Woods teed off on the second hole at 6:15 with Mark O'Meara. They skipped the first hole, as Woods did on Monday. The two friends played the next 16 holes together before Woods shook hands with O'Meara and started walking toward the practice area. In his practice round on Monday, Woods also decided not to play the 18th.   During his dew-sweeping walk, Woods's iron game appeared sharp. On the 174-yard par-3 11th hole, he hit a wonderful shot to about 10 feet. He also used irons off several tees and was able to avoid the treacherous pot bunkers that litter the fairways here.   Golfers don't always putt at the hole during practice rounds; they often putt where the pins will be on different days. Woods tested those locations by putting toward his caddie, Steve Williams, who stood as a human target. On several occasions Woods putted from as far away as 10 yards off the green, making his ball hop and bound over the grass and onto the putting surface.   The one hiccup in Woods's practice session was a fat 3-wood tee shot on the 495-yard 17th hole. He hit a much better second shot off that tee.

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by Kevin Cunningham