February 1, 2023

Officially, Tiger Woods’ preparatory work for next week’s 150th Open Championship is officially complete. Unofficially, there is still much to be done.

Woods starred in a two-round GB McManus Pro Am at Adare Manor in Ireland shooting 77-74 to finish off the T39 alongside 2022 US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick. It was an uninspiring performance that also doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme, especially with so much in store for the next two weeks.

Woods said on Tuesday he would be staying in Europe for several days to come as he works to prepare for the old course at St Andrews, but declined to say where he would play.

“I don’t want everyone to come down and watch us,” Tiger joked.

He might go to play Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, where he was famous (allegedly) Failed to break an 80 in 2000 en route to winning his first pitcher of claret in the old court? Or maybe somewhere less famous like Tralee where Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Ricky Fowler are Played last week in the run-up to this week’s Scottish Open.

Whatever the case, Tiger clearly doesn’t have the best of things right now. He didn’t look great in Adare Manor, which wasn’t necessarily unexpected. Woods made 10 bogeys and doubles over two days in Ireland, against those with only three birds and an eagle. However, this eagle was very impressive.

The 14-time main winner has played little else in 2022. Four rounds in the Masters earlier – where he finished 47th – and a pull-out after 54 holes in the PGA Championship made up the seven professional rounds he put together. season. He missed the US Open in Brooklyn three weeks ago while continuing to rehab his leg.

“The plan was to play the US Open but physically I couldn’t do that,” Woods said. “There’s no physical way to do that. I’ve had some problems with my legs, and that would have put this tournament in jeopardy, so there’s no reason to do it.”

This Open Championship is the most important tournament of the last 20 years. It is the 150th edition of the world’s oldest and most important tournament being played on the world’s most important golf course at a time when professional golf has never been more dangerous.

“This is a beautiful historic tournament that we’re going to play,” Woods said. “I am fortunate enough to be a part of the former champions who have won there, and [I] I want to play there again, I don’t know when they will come back while I’m still able to play at a high level. I want to be able to award it at least once more at a high level.”

It’s realistic to think this might be Woods’ last shred of St Andrews for a major tournament, but he’s almost right. Given how limited his body is in the first two majors of the year, it’s hard to imagine him competing in an open championship in St. Andrews whenever the R&A team returns again.

Although there is no date on the schedule for a future Open Championship at the Old Stadium, but let’s say it’s back in 2027. Tiger will turn 51 then. It is unreasonable to think that he will be able to compete at a distance, although it is almost a guarantee that he will do everything in his power to be present.

“If you asked me last year if I would ever play golf again, all the surgeons would say ‘no,’” Woods said. “But here I am playing two big tournaments this year. I will always be able to play golf. Whether it’s that leg, someone else’s leg, a fake leg, or different parts of the body that have been put on or combined, I’ll always be able to play it. Now, if I say “play at the tournament level,” well, that window is definitely not quite as big as I’d like it to be. “

Nobody knows if Tiger will be a contender at The Open next week, but that almost doesn’t matter. Just seeing him mentally wrestle again with one of the great mysteries of the sport would be fun – we may never see her again.

If, for some reason, by some miracle, he finds himself in the mix over a weekend at the Old Course, one of the biggest major tournaments of the past few decades could turn out to be one of the great golf tournaments of all time.

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