Street. Andrews, Scotland – Tiger Woods cried.
That, according to the 46-year-old who has scored 15 major championships on his resume, and who used to devour his fellow competitors for lunch like a tiger eats its prey, doesn’t happen very often.
But on Friday afternoon, when Woods approached the famous Swilcan Bridge leading players over the small burn and into the 18th fairway, he slowed his walk and took off his white Nike hat. He then finished what would almost certainly be his last round as a contender for the British Open at St. Andrews.
Woods waved his right hand hat to the thousands of onlookers who packed the floor to express their unconditional love through a series of thunderous applause.
Woods, who plays US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa, was past 9 in the championship and miles away from playing the weekend on the old court, his favorite track in the world.
Fitzpatrick and Homma subtly stayed behind when Woods approached the bridge alone, and the stage was cleared for the huge moment.
When Woods reached the bridge, there was no ceremonial stop at the top to stop and enjoy it all as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson had done before him in their respective final Open Championship rounds at St. Andrews.
Woods then admitted: “It’s very touching to me.” “I had a few tears. The warmth of ovations and applause at the age of 18 struck me. I am not one of those people who often shed tears about anything.”
But Woods knows the Open Championship likely won’t return to St. Andrews until 2030 and will be 53 by then.
“I don’t know if I will be physically able to play by then,” he said. “So, to me, it felt like this was probably my last British Championship here at St. Andrews.”
Woods felt the weight of the moment at 18 when Fitzpatrick and Homa paused to let him walk to the bridge first.
Then, as he walked down the eighteenth lane, his good friend Rory McIlroy was in the first lane and pointed his hat at Woods. When Woods hit the 18th green, one of his closest friends, Justin Thomas, was just swinging and also acknowledged the moment with a tip of his hat.
“That’s when I started thinking the next time he comes here, I might not be around,” Woods said. “I understand what Jack and Arnold have been through in the past.”
Fitzpatrick said the scene “give me goosebumps,” adding, “It’s something that will live with me forever.”
Woods won three claret jugs out of 15 major championship victories, two of them at St. Andrews, in 2000 and 2005.
“I’ve been lucky and lucky enough to win this twice here, and I feel so emotional, just because I don’t know how my health is going to be,” Woods said. “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 even when you’re back here, will I keep playing?”
Woods’ week began with a tee-shaped shot that lodged in a pothole at a number. 1. He followed this by hitting his approaching burner and taking a double phantom. He never recovered and shot 78 on Thursday. It didn’t get much better on Friday as Woods, who said Thursday night, felt the need to shoot a second-round 66 to make the cut, hit 75.
Woods made it clear he hadn’t finished his golf tournament.
“I will not retire from the game,” he said.
“I didn’t think it was going to be a stop and a ceremony, I’m done,” Woods courier Joe LaCava told The Post afterwards. “I don’t think he’s thinking that way. I don’t know what he’s going to do next week, but I think in his mind he’s going to play when the championship comes back here. So, he doesn’t want this to be the last round.”
Woods’ failure to take a step and stop at the bridge’s crest was a sure sign that he was planning to walk over that bridge again – although he’ll likely play a ceremonial role next time.
Woods said he has “nothing planned…zero” for the immediate future in terms of playing again.
“Maybe something next year, I don’t know,” he said, “but nothing in the near future.” “This is it. I was just hoping to play this one event this year [the Open] And I was lucky enough to get three events. That in itself was something I was very proud of considering what had happened [with his February 2021 car crash].
“Life goes on.”
It moves quickly.