It came after a successful birdie. a rare momentWhere mind and body co-exist in harmony. The sight of his smile was a sign of hope for those watching, as he tried to control the wind, speed, and intricacies.
There were moments when he still stunned us; those glimpses of Woods as one of our greatest players. But dotted This 6-over 78He was reminded of where he is in life and career by his score of 67, which was his worst round at St. Andrews Open since 1995.
As he limped around the course trying to roll back the years, you felt the need to take in the experience while you could, to prepare for the day when he will no longer be able to.
Woods past was evident all around the Old Course this week. It was a beautiful mix of expectation and nostalgia. The likes Justin Thomas Rory McIlroyWoods was hitting it well, and everyone had praised him. When Woods second shot of round found the Swilcan burn, and we walked to our second 2 over on the day it was almost as though the sky had turned grey.
The play was tedious. Woods group often had to wait at the green for it to clear before they could play. This led to a 6-hour and 5-minute round.
As Woods approached the ninth hole at 6 over, everyone was expecting to see the vintage Woods. Instead of hoping for the best, they were pleading for one little bit of magic for the highlight film. Its something to hold onto, to tell those closest to you that Tiger did it. The cheers grew louder when he added two more birdies. We saw him smiling. Then, on the 11th, he missed an 8-footer, and that uneasy feeling returned. Woods was seen crisscrossing the fairways, finding himself in areas that he used to dance around in 2005 and 2000.
Woods stated that it felt like he didnt hit it as hard. Yes, my speed was a problem on the greens. However, I didn’t feel that I hit it that hard, but I ended in bad spots. Or had some strange things happen. Its just the way it is. Links is like that. And this is what Links looks like. I had my chance to turn it around and get it moving the right way, but I didnt.
His star power is unaffected by how the day turned out. It felt as if most of the 52,000-strong crowd had gravitated near the R&A Clubhouse to watch that grouping of Woods, Homa and Fitzpatrick tee off at 9:59 a.m. ET. One spectator had dyed his hair a tiger-like pattern. Even royalty couldnt get a good view of Woods as he tees off. Prince Albert II of Monaco was unable to navigate the crowd to catch a glimpse. It wasnt just standing room — it was tiptoes at worst, with some resorting only to the zoom on their phones. Woods was gone, so others moved on. But they returned when Matt Fitzpatrick, the home hope, appeared. Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open just a month before Woods.
I didnt realize how numerous people were there until Tiger was announced on No. Homa said that 1, it was like a sea surrounded us. Then, all of a sudden I was, like, holy cattle. So I was very nervous. I felt almost like I was having an out-of-body experience during the first hole.
It was Homas realization of a childhood goal.
Homa stated, It was one of the most fun days Ive ever had on a course. Hes the GOAT because of that. He was very, very kind. It was a great day. It was a day of dreams, with a little less golf. It felt like a fairy tale.
Woods was moving down the first tee and it felt as if the entire St. Andrews community was following him. He was on the fairway — so far, it was good. Then the unravelling began. Woods missed his second shot and the ball ended up in the water.
He walked to his second glance slightly confused. One loan voice exclaimed, Oh! GOAT! Woods stared at him as he shot his tee into the wind. As the round went on, Woods stare grew more intense. He had plenty to think, as it took him an hour to get started on the fourth. Fitzpatrick, Homa and a joke were exchanged as they waited for the fairways clear. Woods was then removed, standing silently at the back.
McIlroy stated that this years tournament was like playing chess. Woods must have felt that he was playing against a grandmaster, even though he had only half of his pieces. Woods 2000 run was legendary for many reasons. He won by 8 shots. Over 72 holes, he only made three bogeys. He avoided every one of the 112 bunkers at the Old Course.
He only needed seven holes to find one of those bunkers 22 years later. It was his second double bogey, and he wasnt even at the turn.
The cheers ceased to be heard by the eighth. Instead, he was being urged on by lone voices. Woods approached the tee and one simply said, Smile. Then came the short recovery across the ninth hole and the 10th. They were answered by his back-to-back birdies. We were back to watching him struggle at the course he so loves. He had very few interactions with his fellow golfers. He didnt allow any emotion to slip except for the occasional rueful shake and a resigned smiling on the 13th, as he three-putted. It was one that said, When it isn’t your day it really isn’t your day.
Woods stated, In a round sometimes that just goes that way. It just goes one direction and it never seems back. No matter how much you fight.
The score will be forgotten. A footnote to a great career. However, this was a significant personal achievement for him. He had made it to St. Andrews.
This event was a constant reminder of his February 2021 car accident. He wanted to try again at taming the old place. He thought that he would get to the first tee this Thursday because of the severe injuries he sustained last year as well as all the other injuries, surgeries, and surgeries that had preceded it.
[It was]Woods stated that Woods words were very, very significant. All things considered, I was hoping that I could play in this event this year, given where I am at the moment. It was at the beginning of the year and at the end of last year, when I was recovering, and I was trying to figure out if it was possible. But somehow, I was able two of the major championships between then-now, which was amazing. This was on my calendar to hopefully be able to play it. And I am. I just didnt do a great job.
There were glimpses of the old Woods. He made birdies on the 14th and 17th, after he launched his 412 yard tee shot. It was strange to see Woods up close, perhaps for the first time in a long time. We had taken Woods approach to a shot as a given. The result was not guaranteed. Although the look and method were the same, the outcome was unpredictable.
The Open and St. Andrews saw four different Tiger Woods iterations. We saw Woods, then a young man, win his first Open championship in 1995 as an amateur. In 2000, he had already won two majors and added the first Open with his amazing display as he wiped it all down. He added another win in 2005. In 2015, he missed the cut. This was seven years after his previous major triumph.
He still has Friday to make this right, but this could be the fourth stage of Woods. This is the one after the car accident. He had changed his expectations and proved to himself that he can still play the game he loves, with a mind just as sharp, but with a body still learning. This was his best feeling since his return. But thats not enough to make him a champion. As he spoke, he was clearly disappointed.
Woods has been trying for so long to improve the Old Course. But on Thursday, he couldnt find any answers. Woods isn’t quite ready to overlook this round with nostalgia. Woods isnt looking back at this stage, not at all, because he has a new goal: making it to the top.
Looks like Im going be shooting 66 [on Friday]Woods said that he was glad to have a chance. So, obviously it has been done. It was done by guys [in the first round]. Thats my responsibility. [in the second round]It is possible to do it. You must do it.