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Tiger Woods still not out of the woods as British Open nears

Tiger Woods is silhouetted on the fifth green

Tiger Woods is silhouetted on the fifth green during a practice round on The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland, on July 13, 2015, ahead of The 2015 Open Golf Championship which runs July 16-19. Credit: Getty Images / Ben Stansall

Tiger Woods won the 2000 British Open at St. Andrews at 19 under par and the 2005 Open at St. Andrews at 14 under par. But his most eye-opening number leading up to this year's Open at St. Andrews might be 42.

Let ESPN analyst Paul Azinger explain.

"I actually made the mistake last year of suggesting that Tiger would be the lead story of every major until he decides to retire," Azinger said on a conference call with reporters.

"Well, that's obviously not the case this week since it took 42 minutes to even get to Tiger Woods [questions]. The lead story is [Jordan] Spieth and maybe Rory McIlroy's injury."

Of course, as ESPN approaches its next-to-last Open before NBC takes over in 2017, it would be ecstatic if, against all odds, Woods mounted a challenge.

"He probably needs somebody to remind him how to think, not to tell him what to think, but remind him how to think," Azinger said. "Get your game out of the laboratory and be the best player again.

"Drive it, wedge it, putt it, at St. Andrews or anywhere. Drive it, wedge it, putt it, and you can compete, and Tiger can certainly do that again."

As always, TV executives' fingers are crossed.

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