The Open: Tiger Woods feels ‘much stronger’ but agrees to his limited schedule going forward

The 15-time big winner made a quick but painful golf recovery after suffering serious leg injuries in a car accident in February 2021. wonderful return to Masters in April after almost 17 months of absence from the sport.
Woods made the cut, but – with the rod and pins in his right leg – clearly struggled with Augusta’s rolling countryside. The following month, he again made it to the PGA Championship in Tulsa, but stripped off from the Major after the third round, confessing to severe pain in his leg. In June he announced that he would not play in the US Open give your body more time.

Yet despite these struggles, Woods set one clear goal the minute he realized he could play at “a high level” again – to play the 150th Open Championship at the “home of golf”.

“I’m focused on getting back here,” the 46-year-old told reporters in St. Andrews on Tuesday.

“It’s incredible, the story behind it, the champions that have won here…it really feels like this is the biggest open championship we’ve ever had.

“All this year I am very proud to be able to play in these tournaments, when it seemed that I would never have such an opportunity again,” he added.

Woods during JP McManus Pro-Am in Limerick, Ireland last week.

“Much Stronger”

Listed as his favorite course, the Old Course at St. Andrews holds a special place in Woods’ heart, having hosted two of his three Open wins in 2000 and 2005, respectively. After the first of these victories, the American became one of five golfers – and the youngest – to complete a career Grand Slam tournament.

A flatter track than Augusta, it also offers a more supportive environment for Woods, aided by months of conditioning work that helped him feel “much stronger”.

“I had the opportunity to work in the gym, get stronger and improve my leg endurance,” he said.

“Playing with Augusta, my leg was not in a condition to play 72 holes. She just ran out of gas, but now it’s different.”

Woods holding a claret pitcher after winning the 2000 Open Championship
And yet he used exactly this wording – “much stronger” – ahead of Augusta, and focusing on the rocky terrain at St. Andrews, Woods has been outspoken about the physical challenges he still faces.

After playing 18 holes on Sunday and nine holes over the next two days, he plans to take Wednesday off before the tournament starts on Thursday.

“My body can definitely get better, but not much really,” he said.

“It’s a bump that’s still hard for me, I have a lot of equipment in my foot so that’s what it is. It will be hard”.

St. Andrews, goodbye?

It’s the sort of hardship that forced Woods to cut his program drastically, to the point where he admitted he would never play a full schedule again. His two big appearances at the Masters and the PGA Championship earlier this year marked his only two PGA Tour events this season, with home workouts the only thing he prepared.

With the Open spanning multiple locations, it remains to be seen if the 150th edition will represent the sixth and final St. Andrews’ appearance at the Major.

Subsequently, a potential entry into his last Open tournament at Stary Pole – the site of his debut in the tournament – would be very important for the three-time winner.

Woods celebrates his second Open victory in St. Louis.  Andrews in 2005.

“I don’t know if it’s that long [six or seven years]will I be able to physically compete at that level by then,” Woods said.

“That is also one of the reasons why I wanted to play in this league. I don’t know what my career will be.

“I will never play full time again, my body just won’t let me do it. I don’t know how many open championships I have left here at St. Andrews, but I wanted this one.

“For me, it started here in ’95, and if it ends here in ’22, that’s the way it is. If not, then no. . “

McIlroy ‘sees’ Woods win

Earlier Tuesday, Woods was asked about his physical condition. Rory McIlroy shared the self-esteem of an American that he feels in a stronger shape, despite constant difficulties.

“He moved better than I have ever seen,” the Northern Irishman told reporters.

“Hitting a golf ball and swinging a club is not a problem, it’s walking, it’s part of the fight.

“But he seems to be moving well. Everything looked pretty good yesterday, so that’s reassuring.”

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McIlroy has set his sights on his second Open Championship win since triumphing at Royal Liverpool in 2014 and believes Woods is in contention to secure a stunning fourth win if strong winds continue into the weekend.

“I think the course and the conditions, definitely I can see that,” McIlroy said of Woods’ win.

“There’s a game of chess this week, and in the last 20 years no one has played this kind of chess on the golf course better than Tiger.”