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Tiger Woods says his game is pointed in the right direction this week. (Photo: Getty Images)
Tiger Woods says his game is pointed in the right direction this week. (Photo: Getty Images)

New dad Woods looks for triplets at Carnoustie

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Content and happy with his new daughter, Tiger Woods now wants a new claret jug to go with the three others already in his trophy case. A win at Carnoustie would make the world No. 1 the fourth man in history to capture three straight Open Championships.

By T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- There aren't a whole lot of "firsts" left for Tiger Woods to experience when it comes to golf. But this week at Carnoustie will be one of them -- his first major as a father.

Woods' wife, Elin, gave birth to the couple's first child, a baby girl named Sam Alexis, on June 18, the day after the U.S. Open. Since then, Woods has been spending plenty of time with his family, playing just one PGA TOUR event -- the AT&T National, which he hosted -- leading into the Open Championship.

"I miss them, there's no doubt," Woods said. "Elin and Sam are doing fantastic. They're at home. Everything has been going great on that end. It's one of those things where we're very excited to have Sam in our life and really looking forward to the future with her."

While Elin and Sam will certainly weigh heavy on Woods' mind, it'll be back to business at Carnoustie where he has the chance to become the first player since Peter Thomson (1954-56) to win three Open Championships in succession.

"If I continue doing the things that I'm doing [I like my chances], I like the way I'm swinging, I like the way my short game is, I like the way my speed is on the greens so far," Woods said. "I just have to carry that into the tournament."

Many have wondered whether or not fatherhood would take its toll on the 12-time major champion, suggesting he may be more vulnerable than ever before.

"Well, they have been saying that a lot," Woods laughed. "First it was getting engaged and then it was getting married and now having a child. It's always something."

The last time the Open Championship was played at Carnoustie was 1999, when Scotland's Paul Lawrie became the unlikely champion, overcoming a 10-shot deficit on the final day and then defeating Justin Leonard and Jean Van de Velde in a playoff. That year, Woods finished in a tie for seventh.

At least from a set-up standpoint, things will be different for this go around and Woods -- who is paired with Lawrie and Justin Rose for the first two rounds -- is happy about that.

"It's extremely fair," he said. "It's not like it was in '99. It's probably a little more difficult than it was in the Scottish Opens I played. So it's roughly right in between. And if we have wind like yesterday morning, conditions like that, or any kind of wind on this golf course, it just becomes a lot more difficult than you think. You really do have to hit the ball well here. The greens are extremely subtle, just like all links courses, and they're hard to read."

Last year in his dramatic win at Royal Liverpool -- Woods' first major victory following the death of his father, Earl, in May -- he showed extreme discipline by hitting driver just two times all week.

"Last year was probably the only opportunity I've had where the golf course I thought forced you to do that, just because it was so fast and so firm," Woods said. "For a British Open, that was faster than we've ever seen. At times last year I tried to -- I saw guys hitting driver off the tees, which I did in the practice rounds, as well. I got it down there where I had a 9-iron and wedge in my hand, but if I was just in that wispy stuff, I couldn't spin the ball, couldn't keep it on the green. But I had a better chance of spinning the ball with a 6-iron on the fairway. That was the nature of my game plan then."

Woods has said that of the four majors, the Open Championship is his favorite to play.

"I love playing over here because it allows you to be creative," he said. "Augusta used to be that way. The U.S. Open is obviously not. The PGA is kind of similar to a U.S. Open setup. Over here you can create shots. You get to use the ground as an ally. We play so much in the States where everything is up in the air. If you had a day like we did yesterday, you really couldn't play a States course, because you can't use the ground. Everything needs to be in the air.

"To be honest with you, you couldn't carry the ball far enough," he continued. "So I think that's one of the great things about playing over here. I loved coming over here my first time in '95. I played here at Carnoustie and over at St. Andrews. My first two experiences on links golf were probably as good as they get."

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