Tiger Woods is taking the positives from the 143rd Open Championship despite finishing in 69th position at Royal Liverpool

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Tiger Woods is taking the positives from the 143rd Open Championship despite finishing in 69th position at Royal Liverpool.

The 38-year-old, who only recently returned to competitive golf following a three-month injury lay-off, started with a three-under-par 69 at Hoylake.

But he struggled on Friday, was forced to birdie the last to make the cut and tumbled further down the leaderboard over the weekend.

Still, the 14-time major champion remains optimistic about the future.

“I had two triples, two doubles, three-putts, just way too many mistakes,” said Woods.

“But the fact is I was able to play a few weeks ahead of time, and I’m only getting stronger and faster, which is great.

“I just had to get more game time, to assess how my back was, and where I need to strengthen, how to go about it, how to gain my explosiveness again, and all that’s coming along.”

Woods has faced many questions about the forthcoming Ryder Cup, and was even asked if he’d pick himself if he was Tom Watson. His response was a typically bullish:

“I would say yes. But that’s my position. I’d like to win the next two tournaments I’m in. That should take care of that.”

Woods is scheduled to play at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational before teeing it up at Valhalla in the PGA Championship.

At 212th in the FedEx Cup standings, he’d need two exceptional weeks to make it to The Barclays – the first play-off event – in August.

Tom Watson, the US Ryder Cup cation, had previously said: “If Tiger’s playing well and in good health, I’ll pick him. But the caveat to that is if he doesn’t make the FedEx Cup, what do I do then? That’s not here yet.”

It would take a brave man to leave Woods out of the US team, despite his relatively lacklustre record, but there’s no doubt Watson has the strength of conviction to do such a thing.