Tiger Woods skipped the physical grind of playing last month’s U.S. Open because he did not want to risk his chances of playing in next week’s 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at the JP McManus Pro-Am at Ireland’s Adare Manor Golf Club, Woods said that problems with his surgically repaired right leg kept him out of the June 16-19 major at Brookline, Mass.
“The plan was to play the U.S. Open, but physically I was not able to do that,” he said. “There’s no way physically I could have done that. I had some issues with my leg and it would have put this tournament in jeopardy, and so there’s no reason to do that.”
Woods, 46, has three wins at The Open among his 15 major championships, including victories at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland in 2000 and 2005.
“This is a pretty historic Open that we are going to be playing,” Woods said Tuesday. “I’m lucky enough to be part of the past champions that have won there, and want to play there again, and I don’t know when they are ever going to go back while I’m still able to play at a high level. I want to be able to give it at least one more run at a high level.”
Woods has not played in an official event since the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in May. He withdrew from that tournament after carding a 9-over 79 in the third round.
Since recovering from a single-car rollover accident near Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2021, Woods has played in just two official tournaments. He placed 47th at the Masters in April.
Woods carded a 5-over 77 in the first round of the 36-hole pro-am Monday and showed some improvement with a 2-over 74 in Tuesday’s final round. He made back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th holes, along with four bogeys. He tied for 39th at 7 over.
Woods said he has good days and “some very difficult days … (when) moving off the couch is a hell of a task, and that’s just the way it is.”
The 82-time PGA Tour winner and former World No. 1 admitted he doesn’t know how much longer he will be able to play competitive golf.
“I don’t know. I really don’t,” Woods said. “If you asked me last year whether I would play golf again, all of my surgeons would have said no. But here I am playing two major championships this year. I will always be able to play golf, whether it’s this leg or someone else’s leg or false leg or different body pieces that have been placed or fused. I’ll always be able to play. Now if you say play at a championship level, well, that window is definitely not as long as I would like it to be.”
–Field Level Media