Tiger Woods’ emotional ride on 18th St. Andrews in the 150th Open evokes legendary memories of the old court

Street. Andrews, Scotland – A single hole can tell a story. She can’t tell the whole story, but she can still tell it a a story. The hole that may have been the Tiger Woods final ever played during an Open Championship in St Andrews tells the story of Hell Friday afternoon.

When Tiger came in 17th in the second round of the 150th Open, the sweeping crowd behind that famous road roared and roared, sending Woods to the biggest finish line in the sport.

Tiger didn’t know what to expect during the last 15 minutes of play. After his 75th run, which followed the 78th on Thursday, Woods said he was simply trying to choose between 3 woods and 5 woods at last, oblivious to what lay ahead. This was no different from his first trip to St Andrews in 1995 when he was a 19-year-old amateur. He fired four rounds in the 1970s and finished T68.

“This is where it all began for me as an amateur,” Woods said this week. “My first chance to play in the Open Championship was here. I will never forget that I played with Ernie Els and Peter Jacobsen in the first two days. We had a chance to play with some of the greats in the training rounds: Freddie [Couples]Raymond [Floyd]And the [Jose Maria Olazabal]And the [Bernhard] Langer. I had a great time as a little kid, and they showed me how to play this golf course and how many different options there are.”

And so began a lifelong tossing journey with Tom Old’s greatest builder, which Woods calls his favorite golf course in the world.

“It’s amazing that they were so fine at the time that this golf course has stood the test of time for the best players,” Woods said. “And as long as we have become a collegiate course, this golf course remains a challenge.”

Tiger waited in 18th place with co-owners Max Homa and Matt Fitzpatrick, who took home the honors in the box. They waited for the next group to clean up the green, and Woods finally went, “chopping” 3 firewood to Sen Valley. Everyone in the plaza got up, but when Game 19 marched en masse toward Suilikan Bridge, people started peeling. The cans, standard holders, and even fellow Woods players took a step and then two more to allow the 15-time main winner to fully encompass the sport’s smallest stage.

“As I was walking on the tee, I could feel the guys stopping, and I looked around.” where the hell [caddie] aerial [Lacava]? He stopped there, said Woods, so I gave him the club. And that’s when I started to realize, ‘Hey…’

“That’s when I started thinking, ‘Next time he comes here, I might not be around. ”

Tiger never broke his stride to cross the bridge, avoiding a choice many legends had made to turn around and waver into the future. He grabbed his hat and thrust it skyward, even though everyone who cares about golf watches him cross the stone bridge.

It has been a stage that represents where Woods has resided for most of his career, and a journey that arguably began in this particular place.

In 2000, on his second trip to St. Andrews, Woods played the best golf the old course had ever seen. He fired four rounds in the 1960s and won the Clarett Jug by eight rounds to complete his Grand Slam career. At the time, he was probably the most solo golfer ever.

St Andrews [in 2000] It was a different level of hitting the ball,” Woods recalls. You hit him much better than you did at Pebble [Beach]. Woods had run the US Open in Pebble Beach by 15 strokes just a month ago.

Tiger encounters a familiar face when crossing the bridge before Homa and Fitzpatrick. Rory McIlroy, who was preparing to take the pole position, walked toward him as Woods walked toward town.

McIlroy has long been the presumed recipient of the wand, the heir apparent to the post-Tiger generation. After shooting 66 in the first round to finish second on an 18-hole at the 150th Open – McIlroy is chasing his first major championship in eight years – he acknowledged the significance of the moment. Rory skillfully tilted his hat toward the tiger. The symbolism was not lost: Woods near the end of the course, McIlroy with the entire game in front of him.

“I saw Rory there,” Tiger said. “He gave me the tip of the hat. It was cool – the nods I was getting from guys as they were going out and I was coming in, just respect, that was so neat. And from the fellow players of the level, it’s great to see and feel that.”

That level of respect flows into a select few, but by Woods’ third trip here in 2005, after several years of dominance, it became abundantly clear to every golfer in the world that they were dealing with a legend. Tiger won that Open Championship in St Andrews by five goals over the permanently beleaguered Scot, Colin Montgomery.

“In every discipline, everyone is trying to beat Tiger,” Retief Goosen said that year after finishing T5. “You feel like if you finish in front of him, you win the championship. And that’s how it is in the big tournaments. It’s the same thing again this week. You keep playing, keep trying. When [Jack] Nicklaus was in his prime, everyone was just trying to finish the race in front of him to win a major. It’s the same thing.”

Fans climbed in every direction and made appearances every opening Friday as Woods continued his run for 18th. Tiger’s clear stride with high shoulders and swinging arm was all that mattered. The lameness was barely perceptible.

Then Tiger Woods did something remarkably rare of someone who has been more plastered across our television screens than anyone in the history of sports. He mourned.

“It’s very moving for me,” Woods said. “I’ve been here since 1995, and I don’t know when – I think the next player will come, what, 2030? – and I don’t know if I’ll be able to play physically by then so, for me, it felt like this was probably my last British Championship. Here in St Andrews.

“I understand what Jack and Arnold are [Palmer] have passed in the past. I was feeling that way in the end. And only collective warmth and understanding. They understand what golf is all about and what it takes to be an open championship champion. I was very lucky and was lucky enough to win this twice here. And I felt so emotional just because I didn’t know what my health would be like. And I feel like I’ll be able to play a future British Championship, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to play long enough when it comes back here, ‘Am I going to keep playing?’

Woods also missed the cut on his last Old Court appearance in 2015. Among the most memorable moments from that open game was Palmer himself crying over what he knows will be his last visit to St Andrews. Tiger had different kinds of feelings, but the line was the same: St Andrews is a special place in the world of golf, and it deeply attracts even the toughest guys in the sport.

“And then, the closer you get to the green, and the more you go into the hole, the warmer you get and you get — you can feel the warmth and you can feel the people on both sides,” Woods said. “I felt like the whole tournament was there.

“They have all appreciated what I’ve done here during the years I’ve played – I’ve won two championships here – my success at the British Open and all the times I’ve enjoyed here in Scotland and playing, I felt like I hit a head there as I walked to my golf ball.”

When Woods stepped in to hit his head, they lined up on the balcony of the Hamilton Grande twenty yards behind Tom Morris, the 18th hole on the most famous golf course on the planet. Men, women, and children stood up there, behind the blue stands and the famous yellow leaderboard, holding their phones higher.

Bagpipes are played in the distance. Seagulls sway in the foreground. The Scottish sun threw itself into every crevice in the Archaic period. People looked out from every building and hotel in sight as the tiger hit his throw. In terms of sights, there wasn’t much better, even in St Andrews.

Woods missed it for 2, and he missed the next for 3. As he scored a pointless goal, he stared at his bird’s throw line and shook his head puffing out what couldn’t be less. – An important hit.

Super competitor to the end.

The applause continued until it passed by the Royal & Ancient Building towards the North Sea and eventually disappeared from view. This may be the last time Tiger Woods takes this walk…or it may not be. A single hole can tell a story, and this hole is telling one we’ve always known to be true.

“I put my heart and soul into this event over the years, and I think people have appreciated my play.”


Mark Emelman joins Rick Gehmann to summarize Friday’s events at the 2022 Open. Go ahead and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcast And the spotify.

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