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“The great thing about St. Andrews is … it doesn’t limit you as a player on ways you can win,” Mickelson said. “All players can win. But I do think there are distinct advantages to length out here.”

Ernie Els is not one to dismiss Woods. No matter what’s gone on in his life, or on the course the last few months, it is hard to consider him conquering these links as he did the last two Opens at St. Andrews.

“I think he’ll be a factor because of the width you have here,” Els said. “You’ve got room to play with. He knows how to play the course, obviously. And he knows the greens very well. When you’ve won tournaments on certain courses, you can putt those greens. And he can putt these greens here. So I think he’s going to have a very good week.”