Tiger prioritized Open over U.S. Open due to leg

Tiger prioritized Open over U.S. Open due to leg

Tiger Woods had planned to play in last month’s U.S. Open, but problems with his surgically repaired right leg didn’t allow him to compete in the third major of the season.

Woods said he skipped the U.S. Open because he didn’t want to jeopardize his chances of playing in the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews, which begins on July 14.

“The plan was to play the U.S. Open, but physically I was not able to do that,” Woods said, while speaking to reporters Tuesday at the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Ireland. “There’s no way physically I could have done that. 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.”

Woods’ 15 major championships include three victories at The Open, including wins at the Old Course at St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005.

“This is a pretty historic Open that we are going to be playing,” Woods said. “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 hasn’t played in an official event since he withdrew after 54 holes at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills on May 22. He carded a 9-over 79 in the third round, his worst score at a PGA Championship.

Woods, 46, has played in only two official events since he was seriously hurt in a car wreck outside Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2021. He finished 47th at the Masters in April.

“Yeah, it’s been worth it,” Woods said. “It’s been hard. I’ve had some very difficult days and some days [in] which moving off the couch is a hell of a task, and that’s just the way it is. As I said, I’m very thankful for all the support I’ve gotten, my treatment staff, all of my surgeons who are repairing this leg and keeping it.

“So I have my own two legs, which … I’m not going to take it for granted anymore, some people do. But people who have come close or lost a limb understand what I’m saying, but you have difficult days and also you have great days and first are not what they used to be, that’s for sure. But they are great days in which I can spend time with my kids and do things that they can do at a slightly slower pace, but I can still do it with them.”

Woods said he wasn’t sure how much longer he would be able to play competitive golf. He shot 5-over 77 in the first round of the 36-hole pro-am in Ireland.

“I don’t know. I really don’t,” he said. “If you asked me last year whether I would play golf again, all of my surgeons would have said no. But here I am playing two major championships this year. I will always be able to play golf, whether it’s this leg or someone else’s leg or false leg or different body pieces that have been placed or fused. I’ll always be able to play. Now if you say play at a championship level, well, that window is definitely not as long as I would like it to be.”

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