ST. ANDREWS in Scotland — After Tiger WoodsDuring a practice round on Sunday at the Old Course of St. Andrews, he ripped the 18th fairway tee shot. Justin ThomasHe followed his ball and said, Ooooooh!
Thomas commented, Boing! when Woods ball went down the sun-baked fairway. It bounced high onto green.
Woods, who is a two-time winner at The Open at St. Andrews (2000, 2005), ended up driving green, leaving an eagle short and teeing in for his third birdie. Woods also had birdies at the par-4 seventh hole and par-3 eighth hole, where he kept his tee shot at about 5 feet.
Woods was able to make a good start, just five days before the 150th Open Championship.
Woods played an 18-hole practice course for the first time this season. Woods played nine-hole practice rounds prior to the majors at the Masters in April, and the PGA Championship on May to maintain his strength. Thomas and Woods also walked 18 holes Saturday night. They chipped and putted along the way. They were there until just after 10:30 p.m. local.
Woods, a fifteen-time major champion, declined talk to reporters after Sundays practice. He will speak to media on Monday and Tuesday.
Woods caddie Joe LaCava told ESPN that he was struggling at first but got better as the day progressed. Thats encouraging.
Woods seemed to be having a lot more fun than anything before his final start in The Open At St. Andrews. Woods has won the Open at St. Andrews three times and won at Royal Liverpool in 2006.
Thomas hit his tee shot high towards the Old Course Hotel on the par-4 17th hole.
Hit the window! Thomas yelled, as his ball bounced onto front lawn in front of the Hotel.
Woods followed the same aggressive line as Thomas when he hit his tee shot, but aimed over the roof of the former railway shed on the right side. Woods tee shot was in the fairway. However, he then hit his approach shot into the cavernous bunker to his left. He chipped in to par at 2 feet.
Woods took a photo with Thomas, LaCava and Thomas caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay before making birdie on 18th.
Woods, 46, hopes for better results in this final major than he had in his first two. He finished 47th at Masters, his first official tournament since he was severely injured in a car accident in Los Angeles in February 2021. He scored 6-over 78 in both rounds, his worst score in Augusta National history.
Woods pulled out of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in May due to pain in his right leg. He shot a 9 over 79 in the third round, his worst score ever in a PGA Championship.
Woods missed the U.S. Open in July due to problems in his right leg. He had been aiming to play in The Open all year. He tied for 39th at 7 over over 36 holes in the JP McManus pro-am in Limerick, Ireland last week. He also played a practice game with Rory McIlroyThursday, Ballybunion, Ireland
Woods will share four holes with McIlroy (2018 British Womens Open champion Georgia Hall) and two-time Open victor Lee TrevinoMondays Celebration of Champions
Thomas, who is playing in The Open St. Andrews for his first time, said that he tried Woods, a close friend, to get some information on how to play it.
Thomas replied, A little bit. I understand that hes going be a little withholding some information, but hes done pretty well around here so Im trying not to needle him.
Thomas was asked if he had doubts about Woods chances this week of competing again. He replied, Definitely not. Ive learned more than to question anything about him.