Tiger Woods continued his preparations for next week’s Open Championship with a round at Ballybunion Golf Club in the West of Ireland on Thursday, where he teed it up with Rory McIlroy, who was also putting in some finishing touches to his assault on the season’s final major.

Tiger and Rory enjoyed a quiet round at Ballybunion ahead of the media frenzy that awaits both players at next week’s Open Championship at St Andrews

Having both played at the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor earlier this week, the duo took time to work on their game at one of the world’s most highly rated links courses.

Trips to Ireland have been part of Woods’ Open preparation since he turned professional. Early in his career, he would play golf and go fly fishing with Mark O’Meara, and he played at Ballybunion with Payne Stewart ahead of his appearance at The Open at Carnoustie in 1999.

“I’ve always loved coming to Ireland,” Woods said. “We’ve had some great times. I’ve come here on several occasions to not only get over the time zone, but to get used to links golf. It is a different kind of game. I mean, it’s played on the ground and it’s totally different. Yardages are generally thrown out the window.”

Speaking about the challenge that will face him next week, Woods said: “This is a pretty historical Open we are going to be playing. I’m lucky enough to be part of the past champions who have won there and want to play there again. I don’t know when they are ever going to go back while I’m still able to play at a high level. And I want to be able to give it at least one more run while I’m still able.”

Woods played Ballybunion with the help of a golf buggy, something that he will not be able to use at St Andrews. In May he withdrew from the US PGA Championship after the third round and missed last month’s US Open to ensure he could participate in The 150th Open.

Two of Woods’ three wins in The Open have come at the Old Course. He won by eight shots in 2000 during the ‘Tiger Slam’ and returned five years later for a five-shot win.

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