Woods going for more history at home of golf

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ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (AP) - From the middle of the ninth fairway, just to the right of a pot bunker that he managed to avoid, Tiger Woods considered two options from 85 yards into a gentle breeze and executed both of them perfectly.

He gave a hard rap with his new putter and sent the ball bouncing along the links of St. Andrews until it rolled onto the green and settled 12 feet left of the flag. Then with a sand wedge, Woods sent the ball into the air with just the right trajectory. It never left the flag and stopped about 6 feet away.

The sand wedge was the safer shot, and the right one for this day.

“But it depends on the wind,” Woods said later during his practice round at the British Open. “If the wind is blowing hard, you can’t hit it in the air. You have to putt it.”

For Woods, the key to the British Open always has been about control.

This year, that holds true on and off the golf course.

His biggest test Tuesday came not from the gorse bushes and pot bunkers that dot the landscape on the Old Course, but from a full house of reporters who wanted to know as much about his personal life as how he plans to play the Road Hole.

Unlike his last big press conference at a major, he didn’t lose his cool.

Asked about his marriage at the U.S. Open, he snapped back, “That’s none of your business.” Asked on Tuesday if his divorce is final, Woods calmly said, “I’m not going to go into that.”

He did reveal details of a breakup _ with his putter. Woods is changing the flat stick for the first time in 12 years, going to a Nike model that he says will allow him to cope with greens that are on the slow side.

One reporter grilled him on his language, his spitting, throwing clubs and his tantrums on the golf course, then asked if he had any plans to be respectful at the home of golf.

“I’m trying to become a better player and a better person, yes,” Woods replied.

Of the 34 questions he fielded, only 16 of them were related to his game, the claret jug and St. Andrews. Then again, Woods already has answered plenty of questions about winning an Open at the home of golf.

The way he has played the last two times at St. Andrews, it looks as though he owns the place.

Woods captured his first claret jug in 2000 when he did not hit into a single bunker all week _ talk about control _ and won by eight shots with a record score to par of 19-under 269. He won by five shots when the Open returned to St. Andrews five years later.

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