Emotional Tiger Woods admits this could be last trip around St. AndrewsHole-by-hole breakdown of Woods' second-round, 3-over 75 at the Home of Golf
July 15, 2022
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods' emotional walk down No. 18 at The Open
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Tiger Woods hustled over the Swilcan Bridge as fast as his repaired legs could muster, removing his hat and saluting the thousands in attendance at the Old Course who rose as one.
There was no pause. No moment of reflection. But as he came down from the cobblestones Rory McIlroy tipped his hat toward Woods. It was then that the moment hit Woods and the tears started to build. This might be the last hurrah, at least at the Old Course, where he’s won two Open Championships.
“It's very emotional for me. I've been coming here since 1995. I think the next one comes around in 2030 so and I don't know if I will be physically able to play by then. To me it felt like this might have been my last British Open here at St. Andrews,” Woods said after shooting 75 for a two-round total of 9-over 153.
The Old Course is Woods’ unrivaled favorite. He’s said it several times. Even before he dominated it in 2000 and 2005 for two of his three Claret Jugs. Its strategic principles, the way it requires players to plot their way around, its demand for shotmaking and its extensive history are all reasons he loves it.
As Woods continued down the 18th, the throngs of fans found full voice and Justin Thomas and others on the first tee delayed their rounds to show appreciation. Memories of his first trip as an amateur in 1995, when Arnold Palmer said goodbye, flashed through his mind. Then he remembered the roars reserved for Jack Nicklaus years later, which Woods heard from several holes away.
“The fans, the ovation and the warmth, it was an unbelievable feeling. I understand what Jack and Arnold had gone through in the past. I was kind of feeling that way there at the end. …They understand what golf's all about and what it takes to be an Open champion,” Woods added. “And I've been lucky enough and fortunate enough to have won this twice here. … I feel like I will be able to play future British Opens, but I don't know if I'll be able to play long enough that when it comes back around here.”
Woods drove just short of the 18th green and chipped close but his putt for one last birdie lipped out. Still, the intensity of the ovation and the respect from his peers made Woods emotional. He looked toward the ground and put his hands to his eyes as the tears welled up.
“As I got closer to the green, … the ovation got louder and you could feel the warmth and you could feel the people from both sides,” he said. “Felt like the whole tournament was right there and they all had appreciated what I've done here for the years I've played. … I felt like it just came to a head right there as I was walking to my golf ball.”
Woods has been adamant this week that he’s not retiring and that he hopes to compete in future Opens, but he also played just three times this year and said he has no other events on his schedule. The amount of time and effort it takes for him to compete will prevent him from playing more tournaments.
After making the cut at the Masters in April, Woods replicated the feat at the PGA Championship in May. But he struggled in the third round and had to withdraw. He skipped the U.S. Open just to make sure he could find his way to St. Andrews, which Woods said won’t host another Open for eight years.
“I'm not retiring from the game,” Woods added. “It's a struggle just playing 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.”
As such, Woods said there were no events currently on his calendar.
“Maybe something next year,” he said. “It's hard just to walk and play 18 holes. People have no idea what I have to go through and the hours of the work on the body, pre and post, each and every single day to do what I just did.”
Here's a hole-by-hole breakdown of Woods' second round at The 150th Open, as the three-time Open champion (twice at St. Andrews) made sure to understand, feel and embrace the moment.
Hole 18 (par 4, 343 yards): Stepping to the final tee box of his week at The 150th Open, Woods savored the moment before selecting a fairway metal. He hit a low runner up the left-hand side that bounded toward the green, stopping approximately 40 yards short, the famed Valley of Sin between his ball and the hole location.
The crowd roared as Woods crossed the Swilcan Bridge; he removed his cap and smiled in appreciation. He chose not to stop on the bridge, though, perhaps implying that he intends to make a future Open appearance at St. Andrews.
As he neared the green, his outward emotion built. Tears were shed as the roars grew. He smiled and nodded with affection, simultaneously beaming and crying. It marked quite a touching moment at the Home of Golf.
It was then time for Woods to collect himself and complete his round. He played a bump-and-run for his second shot, judging the speed perfectly as the ball rolled through the Valley of Sin, up and onto the green. It nestled to within 4 feet for birdie. The right-to-left putt broke just a tad too much, though, and the ball hit the left side of the hole before spinning out. He tapped in for his par, took off his hat and made a 360-degree spin in waving to all corners of the gallery. He shook hands with his playing partners, hugged caddie Joe LaCava and departed the surreal scene.
3-over Friday thru 18; 9-over total; 12/16 fairways hit; 14/18 greens in regulation
Hole 17 (par 4, 487 yards): On the famed Road Hole, crowds lined the ropes to get a glimpse of Woods, and he delivered with a laser-like drive down the center of the fairway, the fans roaring with appreciation every step of the way.
From 160 yards, Woods' approach started on a line on the right edge of the green. He anxiously watched as it landed and tried to reach the proper level before catching a slope and rolling back down onto the front portion of the green, leaving a lengthy birdie putt of some 50 feet.
He left his first putt 7 feet short, next to impossible to hit it hard enough up a steep slope. Then in vintage Woods fashion, he drained his par putt amidst a litany of adoring fans.
3-over Friday thru 17; 9-over total; 11/15 fairways hit; 13/17 greens in regulation
Hole 16 (par 4, 418 yards): Woods took iron off the tee and knocked it down the center of a fairway known for its substantial firmness, avoiding the trouble further up the fairway.
From 217 yards, Woods came up not only well short of the green but also short-sided by a pot bunker protecting the portion of the green on which the hole location is situated.
"There's just no room," remarked a commentator, "and downwind, it's impossible."
From the first cut of rough, Woods played a towering flop shot but came "an inch" from having it release down to the hole; it caught the bunker's adjacent slope and rolled back into the sand.
Woods blasted to 10 feet and two-putted for a disappointing double bogey.
3-over Friday thru 16; 9-over total; 10/14 fairways hit; 12/16 greens in regulation
Hole 15 (par 4, 440 yards): Woods launched a fierce cut with a driver, safely landing in the right center of the fairway and releasing a good bit up the fairway, to the delight of his fans.
"Tiger, we love you!" a fan was overheard remarking.
Woods bumped his wedge approach into the slope fronting the green, but the ball would not slow, running out to the back of the green and leaving a lengthy birdie putt of approximately 40 feet.
He judged the left-to-right breaker beautifully, the ball sharply breaking back toward the hole at the last second but finishing a few inches shy. He tapped in for a stress-free par.
1-over Friday thru 15; 7-over total; 9/13 fairways hit; 12/15 greens in regulation
Hole 14 (par 5, 611 yards): Woods pulled driver and overcooked it, the ball sailing into the left fescue.
"Go left. Go way left," Woods was overheard saying as the ball was airborne, perhaps hoping for it to find an adjacent fairway left of the fescue. No such luck was had.
Woods took fairway metal from the fescue, an ambitious play, and he caught it cleanly but found a fairway bunker.
After assessing the situation, Woods played a masterful approach, picking the ball cleanly from the sand and easily carrying the fierce lip. The ball landed on the fairway just in front of the green and released onto the putting surface, settling hole-high with a 15-foot birdie look.
"I nearly fell off my chair," remarked a commentator. "From where he is ... you'll give him a thousand golf balls, and you can't hit it closer than he just did."
The birdie putt was well-struck, looking good the entire way before making a sharp left turn at the end and lipping out around the back of the hole. He tapped in for par.
1-over Friday thru 14; 7-over total; 8/12 fairways hit; 11/14 greens in regulation
Hole 13 (par 4, 453 yards): After finding the first cut of rough with his tee shot, Woods played a downwind second shot from 192 yards, the wind continuing to pick up as the afternoon progresses.
The ball tracked toward the flag the entire way, Woods looking on anxiously. The shot landed within 5 feet of the flagstick before bouncing and releasing some 35 feet past the hole. His birdie putt up the hill came up 4 feet short, but he had no trouble cleaning up his par.
1-over Friday thru 13; 7-over total; 8/11 fairways hit; 10/13 greens in regulation
Hole 12 (par 4, 348 yards): Woods pulled driver off the tee and pulled it slightly left, the ball landing in fescue but bouncing into a lighter patch of rough. With just 54 yards to the hole, he was unable to get his second shot onto the proper level; the ball settled on the green but 30 feet short.
Putting up the hill, Woods was unable to put enough pace on his birdie try; the ball came to rest 3 feet short of the cup. He did convert his par.
1-over Friday thru 12; 7-over total; 8/10 fairways hit; 9/12 greens in regulation
Hole 11 (par 3, 164 yards): Woods pulled a short iron on the second of the Old Course's two par-3s, and he took an aggressive line at a well-guarded flag but came up just a few yards short, the ball rolling back into a front bunker.
Facing a steep bunker lip, Woods hoisted the ball up quickly and did quite well to get it to stop 15 feet past the hole, leaving a realistic par-saving try. He drained it, center-cut with a wave to the fans.
1-over Friday thru 11; 7-over total; 8/9 fairways hit; 8/11 greens in regulation
Hole 10 (par 4, 372 yards): Woods took a fairway metal off the tee and didn't hesitate, comfortably splitting the center of the fairway. On his approach with a short iron, his distance control was sublime, the ball landing near hole-high and settling there to leave some 15 feet for birdie.
His birdie putt held a good line but ran out of pace a foot short. He tapped in for par but is now on the precipice of needing to run the table of birdies in order to play the weekend at the Old Course.
1-over Friday thru 10; 7-over total; 8/9 fairways hit; 8/10 greens in regulation
Hole 9 (par 4, 367 yards): Woods took driver on the short par 4 and found the center of the fairway, the ball chasing up toward within 20 or so yards of the green's edge. Plenty of room to work with on a cross-green eagle chip.
The 82-time PGA TOUR winner played a low bump-and-run with a mid-iron, the ball scooting on a line toward the cup but not carrying enough pace, coming to rest some 20 feet short of the hole. He two-putted for par, turning in 1-over 37. He stands seven shots back of the projected cut line with nine holes to play.
1-over Friday thru 9; 7-over total; 7/8 fairways hit; 7/9 greens in regulation
Hole 8 (par 3, 195 yards): Woods played a mid-iron and stared it down from the get-go, the ball clearing front fescue and kicking off a mound, moving toward the center of the green and settling 25 or so feet from the hole, hole-high.
His birdie try held a good line but narrowly slid by on the right side. He tapped in for a routine par.
1-over Friday thru 8; 7-over total; 6/7 fairways hit; 6/8 greens in regulation
Hole 7 (par 4, 383 yards): Woods selected fairway metal and played a soft fade that safely split the fairway, maintaining good balance throughout the swing. A short iron found the green but left a bit to be desired, settling some 50 feet from the hole location. His facial expression suggested the knowledge that his chances of advancing to the weekend are quickly fading.
He started his birdie putt well right of the hole; the ball rode a ridge down toward the cup, coming to rest 4 feet short. He drained the par putt to the appreciation of patrons looking on.
1-over Friday thru 7; 7-over total; 6/7 fairways hit; 5/7 greens in regulation
Hole 6 (par 4, 412 yards): Woods took driver and slipped again on impact, the ball sailing right and finding a gnarly fairway pot bunker. He had a minimal backswing and was able to escape the bunker but unable to advance the ball back to the fairway, leaving a full-swing third shot from the fescue.
Woods made clean contact on his third shot and judged it beautifully, the ball landing on the green just past hole-high and releasing to leave a 25-footer for par. He two-putted for his second bogey in three holes, ultimately doomed by his tee shot.
1-over Friday thru 6; 7-over total; 5/6 fairways hit; 4/6 greens in regulation
Hole 5 (par 5, 555 yards): Woods pulled driver and didn't hesitate in launching a smooth fade that took a line on the left side of the fairway and moved back beautifully toward the center.
From 240 yards, Woods selected a fairway metal and played a fade that landed on the green but past the hole, rolling out to leave a lengthy eagle putt of 117 feet. He appeared to lose balance upon impact, but the ball was well-struck nonetheless. Funny enough, the ball came to rest less than 10 feet from the No. 13 hole location; Nos. 4 and 13 at the Old Course share a green.
Navigating a mound on his lengthy eagle try, Woods could not provide enough pace, the ball coming to rest 15 feet short of the hole. The birdie try looked good the entire way but grazed the left edge and would not fall. Woods buckled his knees in dismay, knowing that he cannot afford many three-putts at this point in the proceedings. He tapped in for a disenchanting par.
Even-par Friday thru 5; 6-over total; 5/5 fairways hit; 4/5 greens in regulation
Hole 4 (par 4, 462 yards): With fans lining the fairway, five or so deep, Woods pulled driver and launched a medium-height fade that carried a good distance and settled in the left center of the fairway.
Woods pulled his approach shot and was disgusted immediately, the ball settling in a collection area right of the green.
"Nothing worse when you're trying to fade one, that you go and pull it," remarked commentator Nick Faldo.
Woods took putter for his third shot from just off the green, the pace well-judged and the ball coming to rest 4 feet left of the hole. His par putt lipped out, though, and he tapped in for his first bogey of the day.
Even-par Friday thru 4; 6-over total; 4/4 fairways hit; 3/4 greens in regulation
Hole 3 (par 4, 392 yards): Woods split the center of fairway with driver off the tee, leaving a short iron from 101 yards. He played a conservative wedge approach away from the hole, the ball spinning and skidding to an eventual stop 30 feet right of the hole.
Knowing that it’s time to start making birdies in bunches if he hopes to survive the cut line, Woods delivered with a smooth stroke, the ball finding the center of the cup. Into red numbers on the day.
1-under Friday thru 3; 5-over total; 3/3 fairways hit; 3/3 greens in regulation
Hole 2 (par 4, 449 yards): Woods took driver and played a high fade that landed in the right side of the fairway and rolled out to leave a good angle into the green. From 147 yards, he launched a high short iron that landed softly approximately 20 feet past the hole, a decent look at a birdie to kick-start his day.
His birdie putt slid by, though, and he settled for a second consecutive par.
Even-par Friday thru 2; 6-over total; 2/2 fairways hit; 2/2 greens in regulation
Hole 1 (par 4, 357 yards): Woods took iron off the tee and played a low stinger down the middle on one of golf's most iconic and widest fairways. After finding a divot off the tee on No. 1 in Thursday's opening round, he had no such misfortune Friday.
From 133 yards, Woods played a sensible wedge 30 feet right of the hole, safely away from the flagstick situated precariously close to the Swilcan burn. He two-putted for a routine par, two strokes better than Thursday's double bogey at the opening hole.
Even-par Friday thru 1; 6-over total; 1/1 fairways hit; 1/1 greens in regulation