Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland will form Sunday's final pairing as the 150th Open Championship heads for a thrilling conclusion.

The duo played together on Saturday and both shot third-round 66s to claim a share of the lead on 16 under at St Andrews.

However, it is not quite a two-horse race at the famous Fife links, with Cameron Young and overnight leader Cameron Smith four strokes behind, while Scottie Scheffler and Kim Si-woo are within five.

The highlight of McIlroy's round was a hole-out eagle from the bunker on 10, but he and Hovland were both wayward on their approach shots to 17 as signs of nerves started to show on the notoriously tricky Road Hole.

McIlroy was close up against the stone wall to the right of the green and ended up with a bogey five, while Hovland – whose shot came to rest on the gravel path – recovered to salvage par and restore parity at the summit of the leaderboard.

A pair of birdies at the last kept it that way, setting things up for what promises to be a memorable final day at the home of golf.

Elsewhere in the field on an exciting moving day, Shane Lowry carded back-to-back eagles on the ninth and 10th before the 2019 winner faded on the back nine to sign for a 69.

Patrick Cantlay threatened to join the fun at the sharp end of things when he got to 11 under through 12, but he dropped three shots in the remaining six holes to end up eight off the pace.

SHOT OF THE DAY

McIlroy turned a threat into an opportunity after putting his tee shot into the bunker at the 10th, with rival Hovland having landed safely short of the pin.

A superb bunker shot pitched just shy of the cup and rolled in for an eagle two that piled the pressure on Hovland.

To his credit, the Norwegian got down in two for a birdie that ensured he stayed level with his playing partner.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

On moving day in Fife, it was crowd favourite McIlroy who really clicked into gear.

A pre-tournament favourite, the 33-year-old found his groove to chart a course for his fifth major and first since 2014.

On this form, he will take some stopping on Sunday, even with Hovland for company.

CHIPPING IN

Jordan Spieth: "What's difficult about it is a lot of the pin locations are in these tiny little tucked corners where, if you hit it more than five feet by, it goes 50 feet away."

Shane Lowry: "It wouldn't take Einstein to figure out what went wrong on the back nine. My putting was horrific."

Bryson DeChambeau: "I don't think you ever know how to play this golf course fully. Every day it's different. It showcases a unique golf course each time the wind pops up or doesn't pop up. It's just different."

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME

- When McIlroy won The Open in 2014, he was 16 under after round three.

- The pairing of McIlroy and Hovland produced just one bogey between them on Saturday.

- Every winner of The Open at St Andrews has been within four shots of the lead heading into the final round.

Jon Rahm has said that he hopes Tiger Woods will carry on playing, after the American legend failed to make the cut after the second round at the Open at St Andrews.

Woods followed up his first round score of six over par with a second day three over to finish at nine over, with the cut line at par.

There were positive signs early on with a birdie on the third hole, but two bogeys in the following three holes and a double-bogey on the 16th eliminated any hopes of making it to the third round.

He was visibly emotional on the 18th hole, as he arrived to a rapturous reception from the gallery. 

The 15-time major winner alluded to the fact that he may never play in another Open at St Andrews, but Rahm remained hopeful that he would be seen back at the 'home of golf'.

Rahm told reporters: "From what I heard, it will be in 2030, which is eight years from now, which is probably a few years too long. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes the effort just to play and do a proper good-bye.

"I'm hoping this is not Tiger's last. I'm hoping somehow he can get healthier and be back. Obviously he's done amazing things here and amazing things everywhere in the world.

"You can tell he's in pain. I know he puts a front out there and he tries to walk normal, but you can tell in certain moments going down some of the hills. You can tell he's suffering.

"So hopefully they can – not fully fix it, I don't know if they'll be able to, but minimise it and have a normal life. As normal life as Tiger Woods can have obviously."

Rory McIlroy knows he has "got the game" to be the man who lifts the Claret Jug at the 150th Open Championship on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman carded a second-round 68 at Andrews to sit three shots behind leader Cameron Smith. 

McIlroy has not added to his major haul of four since 2014, when he was crowned Champion Golfer of the Year and won the US PGA Championship.

But he is confident he can change that on the Fife coast this weekend.

"I know I've got the game. That's all I need," he said. "I just need to go out and play my game and play my golf over the next two days and that's all I can do.

"Cam Smith goes out and shoots another two rounds like he did the first two days, I'm going to have a really hard time to win the tournament.

"I've just got to go out and do the best I can and worry about myself and hopefully that's good enough."

It was a day of low scoring at the home of golf, where Smith shot a blemish-free 64 to rise to the summit.

Australian compatriot Adam Scott also took advantage to sign for a 65, with McIlroy acknowledging it was important to be aggressive.

"It was one of those, you needed to go out and make birdies," he explained.

"It wasn't like you could be defensive at all. You had to go out and play well and make birdies because everyone was doing that.

"I just tried to play a little bit more on the front foot and be a little more aggressive."

But not everyone in the field managed to make the conditions count in their favour, with Tiger Woods labouring to a 75 as he missed the cut.

Afterwards, the 15-time major winner conceded he may never play an Open at St Andrews again, but Woods was heartened by the response he got from fans and his fellow professionals.

McIlroy was just starting his round and walking down the first when Woods was heading up the 18th to rapturous applause, with the two acknowledging each other.

"I've gotten pretty close to Tiger over these last few years," said McIlroy. "Especially after the accident, I think we've all sort of rallied around him down there in Jupiter and we all want to see him do well.

"He was our hero growing up, even though I'm maybe a touch older than some of the other guys, but we want to see him do well, we want to see him still out there competing.

"This week was obviously a tough week for him, but we're all behind him, we're all pulling for him."

Cameron Smith holds the 36-hole lead at the 150th Open Championship after a day on which Tiger Woods likely waved a fond farewell to St Andrews.

A stellar 64 from Smith handed the Australian a two-shot lead on 13 under at the halfway point, with Cameron Young his nearest rival, while the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Scottie Scheffler are firmly in the mix.

But 15-time major winner Woods, who has his name etched onto the Claret Jug three times, missed the cut following an untidy 75, conceding afterwards that he would probably not be returning when the home of golf next hosts the sport's oldest major.

Woods was met with rapturous applause as he made the walk down the 18th fairway, with McIlroy tipping his hat to the American as he headed down the first at the start of his round of 68, which left the 2014 winner three shots behind, level with Viktor Hovland.

After early rain on the Fife coast, the conditions were conducive to low scoring and Smith was one of a host of players to take advantage, with compatriot Adam Scott's 65 moving him to seven under and Tyrrell Hatton's 66 leaving him one better off.

Johnson got to nine under with a 67, one ahead of world number one Scheffler.

Other big names to join Woods in missing the cut were reigning champion Collin Morikawa, six-time major winner Phil Mickelson and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka.

SHOT OF THE DAY

Smith headed to the par-five 14th on the back of three consecutive pars and looking for something to ignite his back nine to match the fireworks of the front nine.

And my word did he find it. His approach shot found the green but was a long way from the hole, leaving him with surely a lag putt just to put it close enough for a birdie.

But that was never going to be enough for the on-form Smith, who rolled it all the way up to the hole and in the cup for a spectacular eagle. 

PLAYER OF THE DAY

Smith's 64 was Friday's lowest round on a day when his scorecard remained blemish-free.

The 28-year-old's putter stayed hot as he made six birdies and an eagle en route to a score that puts him in firm contention for a maiden major.

CHIPPING IN

Tiger Woods: "This is my favourite golf course. I fell in love with it back in 1995 and it hasn't changed. I just love how it can be played in so many different ways."

Mark Calcavecchia: "Forget about my golf. It wouldn't have mattered if I shot a pair of 75s or a pair of 85s, which I nearly did. It was about playing one more, my last one here at the home of golf, which is really cool to be able to end it here."

Cameron Smith: "I think there's going to be a few more gnarly pins, and I think being smart out there is definitely going to be the key to staying at the top of the leaderboard."

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME

- Cameron Smith's combined score of 131 is a record after 36 holes in an Open at St Andrews.

- All four past champions at St Andrews missed the cut: Zach Johnson (2015), Louis Oosthuizen (2010), Tiger Woods (2000, 2005) and John Daly (1995).

- From his 22 appearances at The Open, this was only the fourth time Woods failed to make the cut.

An emotional Tiger Woods conceded he is unlikely to play The Open at St Andrews again after missing the cut at the 150th edition of golf's oldest major on Friday.

The 15-time major winner carded a second-round 75 to sit nine over par, well short of the projected cut mark at the home of golf.

Woods was desperate to compete in this landmark tournament after his career was nearly ended by a car crash in February last year, and he admitted this was probably his final outing at an Open on the famous links.

It was fitting, then, that the 46-year-old – who has twice lifted the Claret Jug at the Fife course – was given a stunning ovation as he concluded his round, which left him with tears in his eyes.

 

"It's very emotional for me. I've been coming here since 1995... I think the next one comes around in what, 2030? I don't know if I will be physically able to play by then," he said.

"So to me it felt like this might have been my last British Open here at St Andrews. And the fans, the ovation and the warmth, it was an unbelievable feeling.

"I understand what Jack [Nicklaus] and Arnold [Palmer] had gone through in the past. I was kind of feeling that way there at the end – just the collective warmth and understanding. They understand what golf's all about and what it takes to be an Open champion.

"I've been lucky enough and fortunate enough to have won this twice here, and it felt very emotional.

"I just don't know what my health is going to be like. And I feel like I will be able to play future British Opens, but I don't know if I'll be able to play that long enough that when it comes back around here, will I still be playing?"

Woods admitted he was choked up by the response of the fans and his fellow professionals, including Rory McIlroy.

"As I walked further along the fairway, I saw Rory right there," he said. "He gave me the tip of the cap.

"It was a pretty cool, the nods I was getting from guys as they were going out and I was coming in, just the respect, that was pretty neat. And from a players' fraternity level, it's neat to see that and feel that.

"And then as I got closer to the green, more into the hole, the ovation got louder and you could feel the warmth and you could feel the people from both sides. It felt like the whole tournament was right there.

"I had a few tears. I'm not one who gets very teary-eyed very often about anything. 

"I put my heart and soul into this event over the years and I think the people have appreciated my play in the event. I've won it three times.

"Life moves on and I think that's what people understand, and they knew my circumstances this year, of just playing, period.

"I was very lucky to have had a great team around me to get me to where I was physically able to play three times this year and very thankful to all of them for getting me to this spot."

Scottie Scheffler hailed Tiger Woods' resilience despite the golf great enduring an Open Championship to forget at St Andrews.

Woods carded a disappointing,six-over par 78 in his first round on Thursday, leaving himself with plenty to do to make the weekend.

The 15-time major winner could not muster up a good enough second round, however, with his 75 meaning he missed the cut at nine over. He appeared to be wiping away tears as he received a huge ovation from the crowd on his way to the 18th hole on what could be his last professional visit to the home of golf.

Scheffler had no such issues as the 2022 Masters champion carded 68, meaning he was one shot off the lead when he headed to the clubhouse.

When it was put to Scheffler that Woods might well have made his final Open appearance at St Andrews, the world number one was quick to stress the resilience the 46-year-old has shown across his career, not least to return to top-level golf after sustaining serious injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

Scheffler told reporters: "I don't know if this will be Tiger's last one here. He may have spoken about it a bit.

"But he's a pretty resilient guy and he loves to compete. We'll see what he has in store for us the next few years.

"Any time you can see that guy out on the golf course, especially the Old Course, it's really special. For us as players, to have him around is pretty cool.

"When he got in that car wreck, didn't know if we'd have him back. Just to have him out here playing golf is pretty special for all of us."

Woods was the last player to win both the Masters and The Open in the same year – back in 2005 – though Scheffler is well in the hunt to achieve that feat in 2022.

"No, to be honest with you, I'm just here trying to do my best and put myself in position," the 26-year-old replied when asked if he had thought about such an achievement.

"Thinking about prior wins isn't going to help me play good this week. Just trying to stay in the moment and hit some good shots."

That composure and mentality is something Scheffler is planning to take into his final two rounds.

"For me, just coming in like I usually do and try to do my best, not overthink things and focus on the task at hand," he said.

Dustin Johnson has no plans to revisit memories of his 2015 St Andrews collapse after taking the lead at the 150th Open Championship.

The former world number one shot a second-round 67 to move to nine under and top of the leaderboard.

Johnson conceded he was unlikely to remain at the summit come the end of the day, but he will be out to avoid a repeat of his weekend slump at the home of golf seven years ago.

Back then, the American held the 36-hole lead but carded consecutive 75s to fall well short, and he was not keen to dig that out of the memory bank following Friday's fine showing.

"To be honest, I don't even remember the third round from seven years ago," he said. "I've played a lot of golf since then, and that was a long time ago.

"Obviously any time playing in a major and playing golf courses, you learn stuff about yourself, but that was quite a while ago.

"I don't want to go back to it, obviously. It wasn't very good."

Johnson is now waiting to see how the weather will impact his strategy for the weekend as he eyes a third major and first Open title.

"Once I see what the wind direction is and we get the pins later, we kind of go through and map out a game plan," he said.

"It's all based on the wind how you attack the golf course and kind of where you hit it and where you want to hit it.

"I feel like I'm swinging well. Obviously, it's just avoiding the bunkers as much as possible. It's really hard not to hit it in one of the bunkers. I've been in three so far, and two of them I had to chip out sideways, and the other one I had a shot.

"If I can just keep out of the bunkers and just keep playing kind of smart golf where, when I have a good number and a club that I can get it close to the hole, I can be aggressive. But when not, just kind of hit it to 30, 40 feet and try to two-putt."

World number one Scottie Scheffler's 68 kept him within one of the lead, while Tyrrell Hatton's 66 also had him at eight under.

Adam Scott, playing alongside Johnson, signed for a 65 to seven under, with Rory McIlroy a further stroke back ahead of his 14:59 BST (local time) tee-off.

After early rain, conditions have been proving favourable for low scoring, but Tiger Woods was primed to miss the cut after moving to seven over through 15 holes on Friday.

Tiger Woods bemoaned his lack of luck and failures with the putter after carding an error-strewn first-round 78 at the 150th Open Championship.

Woods, who missed the U.S. Open, spoke glowingly of the Old Course in the build-up to the season's final major at St Andrews, where he has won two of his three Claret Jugs, but the 46-year-old came unstuck despite favourable conditions on Thursday.

Cameron Young shot the lowest round of the day with his eight-under 64, while Rory McIlroy is two shots back after finishing on six-under.

Yet Woods struggled with the pace of the greens and never recovered from a double-bogey on the first hole, where he found the burn protecting the green after his tee shot stuck in a fairway divot.

The 15-time major winner was honest in his appraisal after his round, conceding his short game left much to be desired.

"It was probably highest score I could have shot. I didn't get off to a great start," he told reporters. 

"I hit a good tee shot down one, ended up right in the middle of a fresh divot and I hit a good shot, wind gusts hit it and ended up in the burn, and start off with a six.

"I think I had maybe four or five three-putts today. I just wasn't very good on the greens and every putt I left short.

"I struggled with hitting the putts hard enough. They looked faster than what they were putting, and I struggled with it. Here you really don't have as much control. They were quick.

"The greens were very firm but slow and it's an interesting combo, we weren't exactly speed demons out there either.

"The whole round took a long time, and we were getting waved up. And it was a long, slow day."

Indeed, Woods' round took more than six hours alongside Max Homa and U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, with the trio teeing off at 14:59 BST and finishing at 21:07.

While Woods reiterated his disappointment with his putting, he insists that the element of luck has balanced out throughout his career.

"In a round sometimes it just goes that way. It just goes one way and it never seems to come back, no matter how hard you fight," he added.

"Then I compounded problems, as I said, with my bad speed on the greens. I hit the ball in the correct spots a couple times, left myself some good lag putts, the correct angles and I messed those up.

"I think just the total score [was a disappointment]. It feels like I didn't really hit it that bad. Yes, I did have bad speed on the greens, yes.

"But I didn't really feel like I hit it that bad but I ended up in bad spots, or just had some weird things happen and that's just the way it goes. Links is like that and this golf course is like that."

Despite a frustrating return to the home of golf, Woods enjoyed playing at St Andrews once more, where he says the walk was less difficult than at the other two majors he has played this year.

"It was a lot easier today, physically, than it has been the other two events, for sure," said Woods, who almost saw his career end after suffering multiple leg injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

"All things considered, where I've been, I was hoping I could play this event this year. Looking at it at the beginning of the year, end of last year when I was rehabbing, trying to see if I could do it, but somehow I was able to play two of the major championships in between then and now, which was great.

"But this was always on the calendar to hopefully be well enough to play it and I am, I just didn't do a very good job of it!"

Woods faces an uphill task to make the cut for the weekend in what could be his final St Andrews appearance at The Open, but he knows what will be required on Friday.

"Looks like I'm going to have to shoot 66 tomorrow to have a chance," he continued. "So obviously it has been done. Guys did it today.

"That's my responsibility tomorrow is to go ahead and do it, I need to do it."

Cameron Young's blemish-free 64 led the way after the first round of the 150th Open Championship, with Rory McIlroy firmly in contention at St Andrews.

Tournament debutant Young, who finished in a tie for third at this year's US PGA Championship, made the turn in 31 and picked up three more strokes on the way in to close on eight under.

McIlroy, who was defending champion but missed out through injury the last time the home of golf hosted this event in 2015, birdied the 18th to sign for a 66.

Tiger Woods faces a struggle to make the cut after the 15-time major winner carded an error-strewn 78 that included a double-bogey six at the first.

Claret Jug holder Collin Morikawa is eight shots off the pace after an even-par 72, while world number one Scottie Scheffler looms large at four under.

A host of putative contenders failed to keep pace with the leading pack, with Jon Rahm one over alongside Brooks Koepka, while Justin Thomas was one stroke better off.

It was Paul Lawrie who had the honour of getting this landmark edition of golf's oldest major under way, and the Scot finished his round with an eagle to post a 74.

There was huge disappointment for 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who was forced to withdraw after suffering a back injury.

SHOT OF THE DAY

There will be no shortage of lengthy eagle putts on offer this week, with several of the greens on the many par fours reachable off the tee.

Ian Poulter had one such opportunity on the ninth, his drive leaving him with a putt of around 160 feet which he duly sunk.

That miraculous shot will have helped to soothe the Englishman's pain at being booed on the first tee, a reaction to his decision to join LIV Golf – though he claimed not to hear any jeers.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

English amateur Barclay Brown put himself in some esteemed company at the top end of the leaderboard following a stellar 68.

The 21-year-old, who qualified with a three-stroke win at Hollinwell late last month, handled the occasion brilliantly as he sunk five birdies and just one bogey.

Brown finished four strokes better off than the next best amateurs, with Sam Bairstow and Keita Nakajima both even par.

CHIPPING IN

Paul Lawrie: "I was surprised how many people were there to be honest. I wasn't expecting that. I thought there would be a few, but the stand on the right was pretty full. Nice to see all the people. You always get great support here." 

Barclay Brown: "I was unbelievably nervous at the start. And then once I got through the first couple of holes, yeah, it was nice to kind of calm down a little bit and hit some good shots and just get into it."

Scottie Scheffler: "There's a few holes where I don't know if it's possible to even hit the fairway, like if you're going to take the bunkers out of play, you can't hit the fairway."

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME

- Since 1939, every winner at St Andrews has been within three shots of the lead after the first round.

- Tiger Woods' round took more than six hours, with the three-time Open winner teeing off in a group at 14:59 BST (local time) and taking his final shot of the day at 21:07.

- England's Matt Ford made his Open Championship debut at the age of 44 and signed for a 71.

Rory McIlroy was thrilled with his first-round 66 at the 150th Open Championship and is determined to back it up with another strong showing on Friday.

The four-time major winner sat two shots behind clubhouse leader Cameron Young after a superb opening round at St Andrews, with only one blemish on his scorecard.

McIlroy came close to an eagle on the last but settled for a birdie that left him six under and firmly in the mix.

"That was just sort of what you hope will happen when you're starting off your week," he said.

"I did everything that you're supposed to do around St Andrews. I birdied the holes that are birdieable and I made pars at the holes where you're sort of looking to make a par and move to the next tee. I didn't really put myself out of position too much.

"So, overall, really pleased. It's another good start at a major. Three in a row for me now. And looking forward to the next few days.

"Everything feels very settled. No real issues with my game. Everything feels like it's in good shape. Everything feels just sort of nice and quiet, which is a nice way to be."

Despite his evident satisfaction, the 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year, who was injured and unable to defend that title at St Andrews in 2015, knows he cannot rest on his laurels.

"I need to go out and back up what I just did," he said. "I think that's important to do.

"But again, this golf course isn't going to change that much, I don't think, in terms of conditions.

"I've seen the golf course now in tournament play and tournament conditions and know what to expect. I've just got to go out and back up what I've done."

While McIlroy enjoyed a fine start, the same could not be said for 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, who was four over through six holes and facing an uphill struggle to make the weekend.

Reigning champion Collin Morikawa signed for an even-par 72, while English amateur Barclay Brown made a name for himself with a 68.

World number one Scottie Scheffler looms large on four under after 11 holes.

Justin Rose has pulled out of The Open at St Andrews after suffering a back injury, with Rikuya Hoshino taking his place.

The 2013 U.S. Open champion was due to tee off at the 150th Open in a group with fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and 2018 Claret Jug winner Francesco Molinari.

However, the former world number one was unable to join his Ryder Cup team-mates as Hoshino instead completed the trio.

Rose's best placing at golf's oldest major came in the year Molinari won at Carnoustie, when he finished in a tie for second.

Paul Lawrie had the honour of getting the action under way at the Fife links on Thursday, with a host of big-name contenders waiting in the wings.

Defending champion Collin Morikawa goes out at 09:58 BST (local time) with four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and the in-form Xander Schauffele for company. 

Another trio sure to draw a big following will head out at 14:59, when Tiger Woods and U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick will be joined by Max Homa.

Woods, who has won two of his three Open titles at St Andrews, said playing this tournament at the home of golf was a major motivating factor for him to return to fitness after his car crash last February. 

World number one Scottie Scheffler goes out at 13:26 alongside Joaquin Niemann and Tyrrell Hatton, while Jon Rahm is also an afternoon starter in a group that includes 2017 winner Jordan Spieth.

Conditions appear favourable on Scotland's east coast, with the fairways firm and receptive greens, although wind speeds may cause some problems at various points across the four days of competition. 

The 150th Open Championship got under way on Thursday as Paul Lawrie had the honour of hitting the first tee shot, with a host of Claret Jug contenders waiting to take to the course at St Andrews.

Scotland's Lawrie, Champion Golfer of the Year in 1999, got things up and running at the Fife links in a group alongside Webb Simpson and Lee Min-woo, with all three finding the first hole's generously wide fairway.

Defending champion Collin Morikawa goes out at 09:58 BST (local time) with four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and the in-form Xander Schauffele for company. 

Another trio sure to draw a big following will head out at 14:59, when Tiger Woods and U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick will be joined by Max Homa.

Woods, who has won two of his three Open titles at St Andrews, said playing this tournament at the home of golf was a major motivating factor for him to return to fitness after his car crash last February. 

World number one Scottie Scheffler goes out at 13:26 alongside Joaquin Niemann and Tyrrell Hatton, while Jon Rahm is also an afternoon starter in a group that includes 2017 winner Jordan Spieth.

Conditions appear favourable on the Fife coast, with the fairways firm and receptive greens, although wind speeds may cause some problems at various points across the four days of competition. 

Rory McIlroy finds it hard to foresee any player shooting 59 or under at The Open Championship on the challenging Old Course that Tiger Woods says 'still stands the test of time'.

With a fair forecast in Scotland and the big-hitting stars descending on the final major of the year, many are expecting low scores across the weekend at the 150th Open.

The lowest round ever shot at a men's major was carded by Branden Grace, who managed 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017.

McIlroy, the 2014 champion, shares the lowest round (63) at The Open at St Andrews alongside Paul Broadhurst, but does not envisage any player carding a sub-60 round.

"Fifty-nine is 13 under par round this golf course. There are 7,300 yards," said McIlroy, who has finished no lower than eighth at the first three majors in 2022.

"It's got greens that are running at 10-and-a-half to 11 [considered medium speed], it's got fairways where the ball is bouncing 50 yards if it's hit and more if it catches the downslope.

"I'll tell you what if someone shoots that [13 under] I will be the first person on the 18th green to shake their hand because they have played outstanding golf."

Woods is no stranger to success at St Andrews, where two of his three Claret Jugs have come, sitting in an exclusive club with Bob Martin, JH Taylor, James Braid and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win two Opens at the home of golf.

The American, who has battled injury struggles and retirement fears to feature at what could be his final St Andrews Open, echoed the sentiments of McIlroy as he outlined the challenges ahead.

"Even with the advancements in technology, this golf course still stands the test of time," Woods said. 

"It's still very difficult, and it's obviously weather dependent. You get the winds like we did today, it's a helluva test.

"On 10, I hit a six-iron from 120 yards. It was blowing so hard. So you just don't get – you just don't have opportunities to hit shots like that anywhere else.

"Then again, if you get a calm day on this golf course, you can see some players probably have four to five eagle putts. It is weather dependent.

"The fairways, I think right now, are faster than the greens. So it's funny, when you hit some of the chip shots and some of the bump-and-runs, you have to allow more speed early, then play for breaks when they hit the green.

"Again, with the amount of slope that's on these greens, if they get them too fast, it's unplayable when the wind gets up.

"We saw that when Louis [Oosthuizen] won. We had a wind-out. We don't want that to happen. And it's understandable why they're a little bit on the slower side."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.