Tiger Woods planned summer around Open at St. Andrews

The Old Course at St. Andrews holds a special place in Tiger Woods’s heart. Throughout his professional career, he has referred to it as his favorite course in the entire world. He has won two Open Championships in that city.

The 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews is at the top of his priority list for the coming summer.

For this week’s JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland, Tiger Woods flew to Europe a week early and said that his decision not to compete at the U.S. Open was made with an eye toward the future.

On Tuesday, Woods told reporters, “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.

This is a pretty historic Open that we are going to be playing. 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 been to St. Andrews for the Open Championship five times before. First, he won the Masters in 2000 with an eight-stroke victory, the second of four consecutive majors known as the “Tiger Slam.” In 2005, he won the Open Championship at St. Andrews by two strokes, his second of three victories; his third came in 2006 at Royal Liverpool.

Woods made his Open Championship debut at St. Andrews in 1995. He finished in T68 as an amateur. His best finish at St. Andrews was 23rd in 2010 and he missed the cut in 2015.

Since 1995, Tiger Woods has been a fan of the St. Andrews golf course. “In general, I’m awestruck by the inventiveness displayed here. You need to be able to hit a variety of shots in order to be a good player. There are a few things you’ll need to get right. Learning to play the golf course in a variety of wind conditions requires a lot of experimentation, and much of that experimentation is based on angles. There are a few fairway locations where your ball needs to be placed in order to get it close to the hole.

This type of thinking and strategy fascinates me, and I’ve always found it fascinating.”

Woods returned to competitive golf at this year’s Masters, where he finished in a tie for 47th place after a single-car accident in February 2021 left him with severe leg injuries. In May, he made the cut at the PGA Championship, but he withdrew due to leg soreness after a third-round score of 79.

Last month’s U.S. Open at Brookline was a possibility for Tiger Woods, but he withdrew just a few days before the tournament. At least two weeks had passed since he tweeted that his body needed more time to strengthen before a big-time golf tournament.

Prior to his trip to St. Andrews, he will practice off-site before flying to Ireland for the JP McManus Pro-Am, which takes place Monday and Tuesday this week.

All of Woods’ surgeons would have said no if he had asked them the same question last year. “Yet here I am this year participating in two major championships. It doesn’t matter if it’s my own leg, a prosthetic limb, or a variety of body parts that have been fused together; I can still play golf. As long as I can play, I’ll be fine.”

He is grateful for the opportunity to play at St. Andrews next week.