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'I don't lie in bed dreaming about it, but I do use it as a motivating factor ... so I can make that a reality.'– Phil Mickelson on competing against Tiger Woods and for his first major title at the British Open.

British open tests tiger

Tiger Woods began the day by hitting an iron deep into the knee-high rough of the Muirfield links in Gullane, Scotland. He ended it knowing he will have to putt better if he is to have a chance at golf's Grand Slam.

Battling a balky putter and problems figuring out the speed of the greens, Woods managed an opening 1-under 70 yesterday in the opening round of the British Open.

The game's greatest player uncharacteristically left several putts short of the hole and lipped out three others. Clearly unhappy with his missed chances, Woods needed 33 putts for the round.

"It is frustrating, yes, but it's OK," Woods said. "Sometimes they just don't go in. But if you keep hitting good putts like I did today, they'll eventually start going in."

Woods came to Scotland with a quest to achieve the Grand Slam. He has 50 percent of the job done, having won the Masters in April and the US Open in June. Victory here and at the US PGA in Minnesota in August would make him the first player in history to win all four Majors in the same calendar year.

Lance still strong in tour

When the time comes, Lance Armstrong wants to quit cycling in style. "Going out on top, that's the ultimate," the Texan said before yesterday's opening mountain stage in this year's Tour de France.

Armstrong is aiming for his fourth straight title. That would put him one short of the Tour record. Only Spain's Miguel Indurain has won five titles in a row. Armstrong was expected to give the first true demonstration of his strength yesterday, in the 11th stage between Pau and La Mongie, a ski station.

The previous 10 stages of the three-week Tour have been mostly flat, and the 97.96-mile leg through the Pyrenees Mountains should be the first to test riders fully. After half the Tour, Armstrong trails Spain's Igor Gonzalez Galdeano by 26 seconds in the overall standings. But he could easily make up that time in the mountains, if his form is as good as the last three years.

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