Woods frustrated but still proud of remarkable display
Tiger Woods and Serena Williams were once the king and queen of sport, conquering all before them and sweeping up the trophies before injury and parenthood got involved.
However, in this sun-baked July, they have both proven they can reign again – with Woods’ performance at The 147th Open a reminder of his outrageous talents and rockstar appeal.
Woods ultimately fell away on Sunday when it really mattered at Carnoustie, with playing partner Francesco Molinari going on to win while he finished sixth at five under par, three strokes back.
But the three-time Champion Golfer of the Year, like Wimbledon finalist Williams, left everyone longing for more and in no doubt that he can rule again after three years of injury hell.
“Serena and I are good friends. I'm sure she'll probably call me and talk to me about it because you've got to put things in perspective,” the 42-year-old said.
“She just had a baby and lost the Wimbledon finals. Just keep it in perspective, and the same thing with me.
“I know that it's going to sting for a little bit here, but given where I was to where I'm at now, blessed.”
Carnoustie certainly felt blessed on Sunday, with an afternoon of golf that was so electric it felt like Glastonbury rather than the sleepy Angus coast.
Woods was the headline act and when he sunk a birdie on the sixth, the roar could be heard in nearby Dundee. Half an hour later, he led The Open outright.
Starting four back from the lead, Woods stood his ground while others flapped in the wind and when he led, it appeared a 15th major could be on the way.
But after a torrid and injury-hit three years, he is still rediscovering his killer instinct.
A double bogey at 11 was followed by a bogey at 12 and the damage done there was too great to overcome as Molinari kept his cool to win by two shots from Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele – who all played their part on a
Still, for him to be back in contention is an achievement in itself and, with his children watching on, he left everyone in no doubt that he can win again.
“I told them I tried, and I said, 'Hopefully you're proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did',” he added.
“It's pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed.
“I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again.
“To me, it's just so special to have them aware because I've won a lot of golf tournaments in my career, but they don't remember any of them.”
Woods was not the only Champion Golfer ruing a missed opportunity. Defending champion Jordan Spieth, who was in a tie for the lead on Sunday morning, shot a five-over 76 and fell to a tie for ninth.
“I feel fine,” he said. “I mean, I've already gone through the frustration. I'm kind of on acceptance now. When you put yourself in position enough times, it goes your way sometimes, it doesn't go your way sometimes.
“It was going to be tough to hold fairways. You knew you'd have three, four good looks at birdies, and the rest of the holes, you were just going to try to position it to make par.
“I knew that going in. I played patiently. I put good swings on it. Never got down on myself. Never got angry.
“Man, I just didn't make a putt today. I hit really good putts too. My stroke is there. It's back, which feels awesome.”
Spieth was out of contention by the time he reached the 18th but playing partner Schauffele was at six-under having bogeyed the 17th.
He needed an eagle to force a play-off but could only manage par and the American insists he will learn from the experience.
“It's just going to go in the memory bank as a positive,” he said.
“I had a chance to win a major championship. I was in the final group. I had to face a little bit of adversity early in the round, and I still gave myself a chance.
“So I can look at it - anyone can look at it however they want to, but I'm going to look at it as a positive moving forward, and try to learn how to handle the situations a little better next time.”
This time next year, The Open will return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years. Be part of the biggest party in golf in 2019. Get immediate access to Priority tickets for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush when you sign up today to join The One Club for free. Simply go to TheOpen.com/PortrushTickets.