Tiger arrives at The Open Championship: "I have zero expectations"

Golf fans loving it as there's a Tiger on the loose at The Open! 

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 19 Jul 2023
Tiger arrives at The Open Championship: "I have zero expectations"

Tiger Woods might not be teeing it up in the 151st Open Championship but there is another Tiger in town this week in the shape of Tiger Christensen.

That's because the little-known 19-year-old American was the only amateur to come through Open Final Qualifying. 

Christensen earned one of five spots in The Open at West Lancs, which hosted one of four final qualifying events this month.

Related: Tiger Woods' ex girlfriend drops $30m lawsuit

That was in the same tournament which saw LIV Golf's Sergio Garcia fail to qualify for The Open for the first time since 1997. 

Garcia lost his cool with a cameraman. 

For Christensen, this week's Open Championship marks his first major start. 

In 2021, he won the Jacques Léglise Trophy and the European Boys' Team Championship.

While Christensen and Woods share 15 majors between them, as well as a furry orange-and-black striped animal driver headcover, the Arizona University student admits the former World No.1 is a huge inspiration to him as he embarks on his first Open test at Royal Liverpool.

"He’s a pretty big inspiration. To me he’s the greatest of all time," Christensen told PA Media.

"I think it’s really special what he’s done for the game, changed the entire game and made it more popular, and his achievements are just unbelievable.

"It’s something you could look up to."

Woods won the last of his three Claret Jugs at Royal Liverpool in 2006. 

He unfortunately won't be competing this week as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery, which he had after withdrawing from The Masters in April. 

Christensen is not solely named after Woods, though. 

"It’s not only named after Tiger Woods – my dad has a very good friend who’s a retired boxer and his ring name was Tiger so it’s 50/50.

"For me it’s never been (a burden) because it’s just my birth name. I’m glad to be called Tiger.

"I understand everything I’m ever going to do they are going to compare me to him straightaway but at the end of the day it’s a different time, I don’t have any connection to him. It’s just a name."

As for his goals at The Open this week, Christensen isn't thinking too far ahead. 

But he has a lot of self-belief. 

"I don’t want to sound cocky but I was pretty certain of qualifying. I played the US Open qualifying and fell just short. I felt it wasn’t far away.

"It’s going to be a great experience. I’m going to go with zero expectations and take it all in.

"But my final goal, which is supported by smaller goals, is to win as many majors as I can."

Christensen competed on the DP World Tour for the first time earlier this season at the Porsche European Open, but he would go on to card rounds of 80 and 79 to miss the cut on 13-over par. 

The American is out with Marcel Siem and Martin Rohwer at 10.53am local time on Thursday.

Take me to more golf news!