Wearing a hoodie, backwards hat and sunglasses, Tiger Woods arrived in Ireland and landed at Adare Manor, site of the 36-hole JP McManus Pro-Am, by helicopter for his one and only tune-up for the 150e British Open.
Woods has done his best to ghost the world since he withdrew from the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in May after taking another cut at a major, shooting 79 on Saturday in cold, gloomy weather. Given the obvious pain he was dealing with, Woods had little to gain from playing the final round. His pursuit of his 16e great triumph should await. He then chose to skip the US Open in June to give his body more time to prepare for the easier walk on the flatter Old Course in Scotland’s St Andrews, where he completed two of his careers in 2000 and 2005. claimed three Claret Jugs.
Woods, 46, defied the odds by returning from his serious single-car accident last February and multiple surgeries to play in the PNC championship in December with son Charlie with the benefit of a golf cart in the two-man team event. Then he shocked the world in April by competing in the Masters and shooting an opening round of 71. He finished 47e†
“That’s the first time I’d think 78-78 on a major weekend would be a smile,” ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt mused. “But I felt that smile reflected the satisfaction of, man, I’ve come here. I’m going there. I played well enough to be here over the weekend. Did I play the way I wanted? No, but I I’m here, man, and I’m playing.”
Woods was quick after the Masters to be in St Andrews in July, noting that this is his favorite job in the world.
But there are no updates on his current health, just a few random tweets, one showing the devastating effect of the crash on his right leg without pants or covered in a compression sleeve (below).
The other showed Woods on the sidelines during his daughter’s soccer practice in Florida, practicing his golf swing without a club.
“The man never stops working,” noted the TW Legion fan site.
In a field that includes nine of the top 10 players in the world rankings at the JP McManus Pro-Am, Woods is still the center of attention. He’s turned the event into a must-watch TV to determine if he still has a pronounced limp like he did during the PGA Championship and to show how sharp his game looks. But why would he play in a hit and giggle with a big loom?
ESPN’s Curtis Strange referred to Tiger playing Augusta National for the Masters, but the sentiment holds true for St. Andrews as well.
“How else would you test yourself other than to walk and play and go up there and play some practice rounds and see if you can walk the golf course, see how the leg holds up, see how the game is,” Strange said. .
The pro-am will be a good opportunity for Woods to play in a competitive environment with 40,000 spectators watching, with nothing but pride in the game.
The JP McManus will be streamed on Peacock Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am-2:30am ET. Golf Channel will replay the event from 7:00 PM to 12:30 PM ET both days.