Tiger Woods will arrive in Northern Ireland's Portrush for the 148th Open Championship today with critics claiming he has already peaked for the year, and others wondering if his decision to eschew a preparation event shows that he believes as much.

Woods has not played since finishing 21st at the US Open at Pebble Beach five weeks ago, and instead went on holiday to Thailand for a fortnight. Indeed, he has played only one tournament since winning the Masters, having skipped straight from Augusta to the US PGA at Bethpage Black, where he missed the cut.

His schedule has raised eyebrows with Paul Azinger, the former Ryder Cup captain, expressing the fears of many.

"For me, the warning sign for Tiger fans is that could have been the peak moment for Tiger," said Azinger, who will be at the Open as an analyst for US network NBC.


"Let's give him some time to overcome that great victory at the Masters. I just saw a different Tiger the past two majors. This next win for Tiger, it's going to be a lot harder than people think, because there's a lot on the line for this next win and he's had this mountain-top experience of achieving that Masters victory."

Padraig Harrington certainly believes Woods' schedule to be odd. The Irishman did not name him last week when saying: "If you're serious about winning the Open, you've got to be playing tournament golf beforehand."

Woods is not the only player who will arrive at Portrush without a warm-up. World No4 Justin Rose is another.

But everything the 43-year-old American does is always analysed endlessly, and do not expect any difference here as Tigermania builds.

In his defence, Woods has posted a video on social media, highlighting how "seriously" he is taking it. The winner of 15 majors has been getting up at 1am every day in Florida, so his body clock will be on UK time when he flies in on his private jet.

Justin Thomas, who is playing in this week's Scottish Open, laughed when asked him about the early alarm calls. "Who would get up at 1am? Not a normal or sane person," he said. "Tiger doesn't sleep already, and might be using that as an excuse to wake up at 1am. You're never going to see me posting any videos at one o'clock in the morning, that's for sure."