Open Championship 2015: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy 'back to best soon'

    As the Open Championship nears, Rory McIlroy (left) and Tiger Woods are struggling with fitness and form respectively.

    (CNN)Tiger Woods' golf may be well below par but one fellow pro says its only a matter of time before the former world No. 1 is "back to his best."

    The 14-time major champion's ongoing troubles with his game were laid bare most recently at the U.S. Open where he carded an opening round of 80 at Chambers Bay before going on to miss the cut.
    Woods showed more encouraging form at last week's Greenbrier Classic, tying for 32nd after carding three sub-70 rounds.
      Two-time PGA Tour winner and European Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter is confident Woods will overcome his difficulties sooner or later.
      "I would expect that we will see a strong Tiger Woods at some stage because we all know he's working hard and we expect him back to his best soon," Poulter told CNN's Clubhouse when asked about the three-time Open Championship winner.
      "You would expect former world No. 1 Tiger Woods to be ever working on his game. He will obviously be a little disappointed I'm sure.
      "As a fellow pro -- you analyze his game. I can only look from the outside in and expect that he is working extremely hard to get back to where he was.
      "I'm not the one to tell him what to do to get it back. It's not my job to do so."
      Poulter also has some sympathy for his Ryder Cup colleague Rory McIlroy, who will not defend the Open title he won 12 months ago after rupturing ankle ligaments last weekend.
      The Northern Irishman ruled himself out on Wednesday after injuring himself playing soccer, but Poulter is sure McIlroy will soon be back in contention.

      Paul McGinley and I, old and new Ballantine's Golf Club Captains ballant.ne/IJP

      A photo posted by Ian Poulter (@ianjamespoulter) on

      "I'm clearly disappointed for him, as I know what it's like to pick up an injury," said Poulter.
      "I can understand what he'll be going through. I know once he's got his rehab and he's ready to go he'll be fitter and stronger than ever before.
      "I wish him well in his recovery."

      'I want to win'

      On his own ambitions at St. Andrews, Poulter is in no doubt as to what he wants to achieve.
      "Well this is short and simple -- I want to win," he explained.
      "St. Andrews means a lot. It was my first Open (in 2000) -- I have a love affair with that golf course. I like the history, the challenge it provides.
      "And every Englishman dreams of etching his name into that Claret Jug."
      McIlroy's absence will be provide a huge boost to world No. 2 Jordan Spieth, who is aiming to win a third major in a row after victories in The Masters in April and the U.S. Open last month.
      Poulter's former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley believes golf needs both Spieth and McIlroy to be at the top of their game.
      "I think he's (Spieth) on a great run of form. I think he is great for the game of golf," McGinley said.
      "I think sport needs rivalries, whether it be boxing, tennis, football or golf and his challenge to Rory McIlroy as world No. 1 is a strong one.
      "I think he's got an attitude and demeanor that will create longevity in his career and a very simplistic way of playing the game."
      While many make Spieth the favorite to emerge victorious, McGinley sounded a note of caution.
      "Winning his third championship in a row next week is a possibility but it's a golf course that I believe will not play for the strengths of his game," added the Irishman.
      "In my view -- St. Andrews is very advantageous to the player who hits over 300 yards in the air (which Jordan doesn't)."
      The first round of the 2015 Open Championship tees off on Thursday July 16.