Tiger Woods has played in 89 major championships, but is wisely sitting out this week’s U.S. Open at The Country Club near Boston.
Anyone who saw Woods play in the year’s first two majors, where he showed grit in making the cut before his body gave out on the weekend, understands why the 46-year-old Woods made the painful decision to withdraw.
Because of the constant pain.
What was the point of trying to take on 5-inch rough every time he missed a narrow fairway when it’s obvious his body has yet to recover from his near-fatal car accident 16 months ago?
If it ever will.
“I previously informed the USGA that I will not be competing in the U.S. Open as my body needs more time to get stronger for major championship golf,” Woods said when he announced his WD on Twitter. “I do hope and plan to be ready to play … at The Open next month. I’m excited to get out there soon!”
Tiger Woods did the correct thing by informing the USGA of his decision as soon as he could – his withdrawal impacted the way the organization handles its qualifying process because he was an exempt player. It also took away any temptation he might have had as the U.S. Open neared.
It was painful for many of his fans to watch Woods play the weekend of the Masters and PGA Championship when it was obvious he looked more like a prizefighter who had taken a beating for 14 rounds. It was a miracle he broke 80 all three times, albeit barely.
One wonders how much convincing his staff had to do to get Woods to withdraw after the third round of the PGA. Woods never quits, evidenced by his record streak of 142 consecutive made cuts from 1998-2003. Still, he would have had to get up at 3 a.m. Sunday to put his body through the grind of playing another round in extremely difficult conditions when he was at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Tiger Woods is much better off remaining at his Jupiter Island mansion in southern Martin County, likely helping 13-year-old son Charlie prepare for the summer junior golf season.
Now he has a better shot at playing well in next month’s British Open at St. Andrews – Woods’ favorite course – and a place where he has won a pair of Claret Jugs.
No doubt Phil Mickelson wishes Woods would have showed up at this week’s national championship. Without Woods’ presence, the attention has ramped up on Mickelson’s decision to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf – a decision Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and others have strongly opposed.
I was fortunate to witness 12 of Woods’ 15 major titles, most memorably the last two. I covered the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines while working for The Palm Beach Post and was a fan, er, patron at the 2019 Masters.
Tiger Woods literally beat everyone on one leg in ’08, and he somehow tapped into his championship past by winning at Augusta more than a decade later.
I, like so many others, stopped doubting Woods many years ago.
His resiliency is beyond approach: He has had more surgeries on his back, left knee and right leg than clubs in his bag and almost lost his leg after the accident.
Everyone understands there’s only so many majors left in Woods’ body. But we’d rather see him there with a realistic shot, not a 46-year-old limping his way around a golf course.
Golf fans around the world will miss Woods this week. But we won’t miss seeing a hobbled icon playing when he has no chance at winning.
Father’s Day gift idea: Us fathers are difficult to buy for. We know that. So here’s a suggestion for the dads who love golf (hopefully that’s why you’re reading this):
Buy them the book “Tiger and Phil: Golf’s Most Fascinating Rivalry.” Written by longtime golf writer Bob Harig (upfront: we are good friends), this book delved into the vastly different personalities in golf’s most compelling rivalry of the last quarter century.
Sure, a lot has changed for Woods and Mickelson in the last year or so, but the reporting and history of these two stands up. It’s a very interesting read.
Chip shots: Joe Latowski of Port St. Lucie finished third in last week’s Florida Amateur Public Links Championship at the Fox Club in Palm City … Nine area golfers are playing in this weekend’s Florida State Women’s Amateur Championship at Streamsong near Lakeland: Laura Carson of Vero Beach, Angelica Holman of Fort Pierce, Morgan Pichler and Aubrey Pichler of Hobe Sound, Sandi St. Onge and Melainey Gunning of Stuart and Brianna Castaldi, Mayumi Umezu and Zoey Iglesias of Port St. Lucie.