iger Woods has said an emotional goodbye to St Andrews after what he admits is likely to be his last Open appearance at the Home of Golf which ended in a missed cut.
It had been a week firmly on Woods’ mind throughout his recovery from a horrific car accident last February, skipping the US Open earlier this summer to ensure his body was ready for the 150th Open. .
However, on a course where he won the Claret Jug in 2000 and 2005, his attempt for the most miraculous of hat-tricks was effectively completed after just seven holes of his first round, at which point he was six over the normal. Woods’ first-round 78 was improved by three shots on Friday, but at nine he finished far from the cut line.
Playing partners Max Homa and Matt Fitzpatrick stepped back to let Woods receive a huge ovation as he descended the 18th fairway and crossed the Swilcan Bridge, although there was no break for photos as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson have done so in the past in their last appearances at St Andrews.
Woods was reduced to tears at the reception he received, waving to the stands on the way to the green as Rory McIlroy tipped his cap as he walked the other way down the shared fairway.
The 15-time major champion muttered “Come on Tiger, come on” as he stood over his ball, trying to calm himself after a rare display of emotion.
“It was very emotional for me,” Woods said. “I’ve been coming here since 1995 and I don’t know when the next one will come, in what, 2030, if I’ll be physically able to play by then.
“I felt like it might be my last British Open at St Andrews and the ovation and the warmth was an incredible feeling.
“They understand what golf is and what it takes to be an Open champion. I was lucky to have won here twice and it was very emotional just because I don’t know how my health will be.
The next three sites to open have been confirmed, until hosting Royal Portrush in 2025. There is no confirmation yet of when it will return to St Andrews, although it usually does so every five years , so 2027 seems the most likely option.