It remains to be seen whether one of golf’s biggest icons played his last professional shot at one of the sport’s most iconic venues, but if it was to be a goodbye, then it was a fitting send-off.
“The fans, the standing ovation and the warmth, it was an amazing feeling,” Woods told reporters.
“As I got closer to the green… the ovation got louder, you could feel the heat and you could feel the people on both sides. It felt like the whole tournament was there.”
Replaying his favorite course had been the 46-year-old’s main focus during the grueling recovery process he has endured since a car accident in February 2021 left him with serious leg injuries.
That left him with a miracle to make the cut and extend his potential farewell tour into the weekend. Despite an improved performance in the second round, a series of awfully short putts extinguished any slim chance of a legendary comeback as he finished nine over par.
And with the Open potentially not returning to the “home of golf” until 2030, Woods admitted he may have played his last Open at the venue.
“I’m not retiring from the game, but I don’t know if I’ll be physically able to play here again when he comes back,” Woods said.
“I will be able to play future British Opens, yes, but in eight years I doubt I will be competitive at this level.
“Life goes on, and I think that’s what people understand. They knew my situation this year, just playing, period. I was very lucky to have a great team around me to help me. bring me to where I was physically able to play three times this year and I’m very grateful to them for bringing me to this place.”
With around 290,000 spectators around the Old Course this week, for much of the first two days of the event, it felt like most of them were following Woods around the course, such was the fanfare wherever he went. was going to.
Crowds packed in behind the ropes whenever he teeed off, with three particularly enthusiastic Woods fans dressed head to toe in Tiger costumes. Although he only shot four birdies in the first two rounds, each was met with a level of roar from the crowd that suggested he was once again vying for the top of the standings.
His level of respect among other players was also evident, with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas – coming down the adjacent first tee as Woods walked on 18 – both tipping their caps as he passed.
Earlier, world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler said he hoped he hadn’t seen the last Woods at St. Andrews.
“He’s a pretty tough guy and he loves competition,” he told reporters.
“We’ll see what he has in store for us for the next few years. Anytime you can see this guy on the golf course, especially The Old Course, it’s really special.
“For us as players to have him with us is pretty cool. When he fell in that car accident, I didn’t know if we would get him back. Just having him here playing golf is enough. special for all of us.”