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‘It felt very emotional’ – ‘Extraordinary scenes’ as Tiger Woods misses cut Life Moves On

Tiger Woods made an emotional walk down the 18th hole at St Andrews to a standing ovation after missing the cut at the 150th Open Championship.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Tiger Woods had just teed off last in his threesome on the 18th, and he was first to reach the fabled Swilcan Bridge that leads players over the small burn and onto the fairway.

The 46-year-old Woods slowed his walk as he got to the bridge and doffed his white Nike cap, waving it in his right hand to the thousands of spectators packing the grounds, roaring.

Woods, playing with reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa, was 9-over par for the tournament and miles from making the cut to play the weekend on the St. Andrews Old Course, his professed favorite in the world.

Fitzpatrick and Homa subtly stayed back as Woods approached the bridge alone, the stage cleared for the monumental moment.

When Woods got onto the bridge, there was no ceremonial stop at the top to pause and soak it all in, as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson had done before him in their respective final competitive Open Championship rounds at St. Andrews.

“It’s very emotional for me,’’ Woods acknowledged afterward. “I’ve been coming here since 1995, and I don’t know when … I think the next one comes around (back to St. Andrews) in what, 2030. I don’t know if I will be physically able to play by then. So, to me, it felt like this might have been my last British Open here at St Andrews.

“The warmth and the ovation at 18, it got to me,’’ Woods went on. “I had a few tears. I’m not one who gets very teary-eyed very often about anything. But when it comes to the game and the passing on of … just the transition … I was lucky enough in ’95 to watch Arnold hit his first tee shot in the second round as I was going to the range. And I could hear Jack playing his last one, I was probably about four holes behind him.

“Just to hear the ovations getting louder and louder and louder. I felt that as I was coming in. The people knew that I wasn’t going to make the cut at the number I was. But the ovations got louder as I was coming home. And that to me was … it felt just the respect. I’ve always respected this event. I’ve always respected the traditions of the game.’’

Woods felt the weight of the moment on 18 when Fitzpatrick and Homa paused to let him walk to the bridge first.

“I felt the guys stop there off the tee on 18, and it was just incredible,’’ Woods said. “I looked over there, and Rory (McIlroy, who was playing No. 1 when Woods was on 18) gave me a tip of the cap. J.T. (Justin Thomas, who was on the first tee when Woods was on the 18th green) did the same. It’s just there’s something to it that’s just different.

“I understand what Jack and Arnold had gone through in the past. I was kind of feeling that way there at the end. And just the collective warmth and understanding. They understand what golf’s all about and what it takes to be an Open champion.’’

Woods has won three Claret Jugs among his 15 major championship victories and two of them came at St. Andrews, in 2000 and 2005.

“I’ve been lucky enough and fortunate enough to have won this twice here, and it felt very emotional, just because I just don’t know what my health is going to be like,’’ Woods said. “I feel like I will be able to play future British Opens, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to play that long enough that when it comes back around here, will I still be playing?’’

Tiger Woods plays from the 13th fairway during day two of The Open at the Old Course, St Andrews.
Tiger Woods plays from the 13th fairway during day two of The Open at the Old Course, St Andrews.
PA Images via Getty Images
Woods’ Open began with a tee shot that came to rest in a fairway divot on No. 1, which was followed by hitting his approach shot into the burn and taking a double bogey. He never recovered and shot 78 on Thursday. It didn’t get much better Friday as Woods, who said on Thursday night he felt like he needed to shoot a second-round 66 to make the cut, shot 75.

“I made my share of mistakes,’’ Woods said. “Struggled again today to get the feel of the greens. I left a lot of putts short again, same as yesterday.’’

Fittingly, after hitting a terrific bump-and-run pitch to within four feet on 18, Woods rimmed out the birdie putt for a disappointing par.

“I just never got anything going,’’ he said. “I needed to shoot a low one today and I certainly did not do that. I’m a little ticked that I’m not playing on the weekend. I certainly did not play good enough to be around. I wish I would have played better.’’

Woods made it clear that he’s not done with tournament golf.
“I’m not retiring from the game,’’ he said. “But I don’t know if I will be physically able to play back here again when it comes back around. I’ll be able to play future British Opens, yes, but eight years’ time, I doubt if I’ll be competitive at this level.

“It’s a struggle just playing just the three events I played this year. That in itself was something I’m very proud of. I was able to play these three events, considering what has transpired (with his February 2021 car crash). Hopefully, we do more hard work and give myself some more chances next year to play a few more events.

“Life moves on.’’

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