Nick Faldo has all but written off Tiger Woods as a contender at this month`s British Open, concluding that the 14-times major champion`s swing is still faltering under pressure.
Faldo, whose six major titles included a five-stroke romp at St. Andrews in 1990, made the observation as Woods battled to a mediocre one-over 71 in the third round at the Greenbrier Classic on Saturday.
Although Woods has shown improvement this week, he has also hit some wild drives, usually to the right on holes that require an accurate tee shot to avoid big trouble.
"When Tiger is under pressure, (his swing) is a completely different speed," Faldo said while commentating for CBS TV.
"There are plenty of pressure tee shots at St. Andrews to avoid the gorse and put it in the right places.
"Under pressure he doesn`t like certain shots and he`s unable to deal with them.
"That is the mind game. Puts him under pressure and then the tempo is completely different."
Woods, 39, has won two British Opens at St. Andrews, in 2000 and 2005.
But he has not won a major since 2008 and only four weeks ago shot the worst score of his career, an 85 in the third round at the Memorial tournament.
After missing the cut by a wide margin at the U.S. Open, he has shown glimpses of his old self this week in West Virginia and stood seven strokes behind the leaders after three rounds.
The improvement, however, was clearly not enough to impress Faldo, who also said Woods was dipping his head way too far on the downswing.
"The head loss of height is unbelievable," said the Englishman, who enjoyed his greatest success after rebuilding his swing in the middle of his career.
"We keep ranting on about it but it is holding him back."