The Open: Woods laments poor putting in error-strewn St Andrews return

By Sports Desk July 14, 2022

Tiger Woods bemoaned his lack of luck and failures with the putter after carding an error-strewn first-round 78 at the 150th Open Championship.

Woods, who missed the U.S. Open, spoke glowingly of the Old Course in the build-up to the season's final major at St Andrews, where he has won two of his three Claret Jugs, but the 46-year-old came unstuck despite favourable conditions on Thursday.

Cameron Young shot the lowest round of the day with his eight-under 64, while Rory McIlroy is two shots back after finishing on six-under.

Yet Woods struggled with the pace of the greens and never recovered from a double-bogey on the first hole, where he found the burn protecting the green after his tee shot stuck in a fairway divot.

The 15-time major winner was honest in his appraisal after his round, conceding his short game left much to be desired.

"It was probably highest score I could have shot. I didn't get off to a great start," he told reporters. 

"I hit a good tee shot down one, ended up right in the middle of a fresh divot and I hit a good shot, wind gusts hit it and ended up in the burn, and start off with a six.

"I think I had maybe four or five three-putts today. I just wasn't very good on the greens and every putt I left short.

"I struggled with hitting the putts hard enough. They looked faster than what they were putting, and I struggled with it. Here you really don't have as much control. They were quick.

"The greens were very firm but slow and it's an interesting combo, we weren't exactly speed demons out there either.

"The whole round took a long time, and we were getting waved up. And it was a long, slow day."

Indeed, Woods' round took more than six hours alongside Max Homa and U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, with the trio teeing off at 14:59 BST and finishing at 21:07.

While Woods reiterated his disappointment with his putting, he insists that the element of luck has balanced out throughout his career.

"In a round sometimes it just goes that way. It just goes one way and it never seems to come back, no matter how hard you fight," he added.

"Then I compounded problems, as I said, with my bad speed on the greens. I hit the ball in the correct spots a couple times, left myself some good lag putts, the correct angles and I messed those up.

"I think just the total score [was a disappointment]. It feels like I didn't really hit it that bad. Yes, I did have bad speed on the greens, yes.

"But I didn't really feel like I hit it that bad but I ended up in bad spots, or just had some weird things happen and that's just the way it goes. Links is like that and this golf course is like that."

Despite a frustrating return to the home of golf, Woods enjoyed playing at St Andrews once more, where he says the walk was less difficult than at the other two majors he has played this year.

"It was a lot easier today, physically, than it has been the other two events, for sure," said Woods, who almost saw his career end after suffering multiple leg injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

"All things considered, where I've been, I was hoping I could play this event this year. Looking at it at the beginning of the year, end of last year when I was rehabbing, trying to see if I could do it, but somehow I was able to play two of the major championships in between then and now, which was great.

"But this was always on the calendar to hopefully be well enough to play it and I am, I just didn't do a very good job of it!"

Woods faces an uphill task to make the cut for the weekend in what could be his final St Andrews appearance at The Open, but he knows what will be required on Friday.

"Looks like I'm going to have to shoot 66 tomorrow to have a chance," he continued. "So obviously it has been done. Guys did it today.

"That's my responsibility tomorrow is to go ahead and do it, I need to do it."

Related items

  • McIlroy hoping to get putter to 'cooperate' at The Open McIlroy hoping to get putter to 'cooperate' at The Open

    Rory McIlroy is hoping to get his putter to "cooperate" at The Open Championship this week after two close-range misses cost him at the recent U.S. Open.

    McIlroy was in contention to end his 10-year major drought at Pinehurst last month, only to miss two putts from inside four feet on the last three holes of his final round.

    Those missed opportunities allowed Bryson DeChambeau to edge him out by one shot and claim his second U.S. Open title, having previously triumphed in 2020.

    McIlroy finished in a share of fourth at the Scottish Open last week, four shots behind winner Robert MacIntyre, as he again struggled on the greens.

    Speaking after the conclusion of his final round at The Renaissance Club, the world number two said getting his putting game into shape had been his main aim for the week.

    "The reason that I like to play the week before the majors is to knock a little bit of rust off and try to get sharp, and I feel like I've done that this week," McIlroy told the PGA Tour website.

    "If I can get the putter to cooperate and get the speed of the greens down... I feel like I'll be in a really good spot."

    Reflecting on his overall showing, McIlroy added: "I felt like the ball-striking was there pretty much every day.

    "There were a few scrappy bits here and there, but overall, it was a good week to see where my game is heading into next week, especially on the back of three weeks off.

    "Pleased with the week with one eye on trying to defend here, but obviously an eye on trying to get prepared for Troon as well."

  • MacIntyre gets 'the bit of luck you need' to win Scottish Open MacIntyre gets 'the bit of luck you need' to win Scottish Open

    Home favourite Robert MacIntyre admitted he got the "bit of luck that you need" to win the Scottish Open on Sunday.

    He was pipped to the title last year thanks to Rory McIlroy's superb finish, but produced a late show of his own heading into the final three holes at Renaissance Club.

    MacIntyre was helped by a huge slice of luck on the 16th hole, after discovering a sprinkler head near his ball in the heavy rough.

    The Scot took full advantage after getting a free drop, making an eagle on the par five thanks to a brilliant approach shot, which took him level with leader Adam Scott.

    Needing a birdie on the final hole to seal his second PGA win of 2024 - six weeks after triumphing at the Canadian Open - he holed from 20 feet to claim victory by a single stroke.

    "I think I lost my voice after the scream on that [18th] hole," MacIntyre told Sky Sports. "I thought I was short.

    "I've put a lot of work into this. I've changed a lot within the team, and I've just worked hard. I wanted the Scottish Open.

    "I got a bit of luck on 16 that you need - a bit of luck to win golf tournaments. I couldn't believe when I heard a sprinkler under my foot where my spike is at, and I'm like: 'no way'.

    "It was covered, and I thought I got lucky. It was meant to be."

    Scott had set the target of 67 as he looked to win his first title since February 2020.

    Defending champion McIlroy finished in a six-way tie for fourth on 14 under, carding 68 in the final round, with Ludvig Aberg, the leader at the halfway stage, also on the same score. 

  • McIlroy says Ryder Cup player-captains cannot work after Bradley appointment McIlroy says Ryder Cup player-captains cannot work after Bradley appointment

    Rory McIlroy was surprised by Keegan Bradley's appointment as the USA captain for the 2025 Ryder Cup, saying there is no way a player-captain role can work effectively.

    The PGA of America confirmed Bradley's appointment on Monday after Tiger Woods decided against leading the team at Bethpage Black golf course in New York.

    Bradley just missed out on the team for last year's 16.5-11.5 loss to Europe in Rome but was expected to be in contention for a place at the USA's home tournament, prompting several players to express surprise at his appointment.

    While McIlroy believes Bradley's experience of the course will benefit the USA, he is unsure what to make of the appointment.

    "It's a surprise for everyone. But he knows Bethpage very well. He went to university in the area. He's obviously very passionate about the Ryder Cup," McIlroy said.

    "It's certainly a departure from what the US have done over the last few years, and time will tell if that's a good thing or not."

    Asked if serving as a player and captain at the same time can ever work, McIlroy revealed he has rejected the chance to take on such a role for the 2027 event, which takes place in County Limerick, Ireland. 

    "Absolutely not," McIlroy said. "I've contemplated it for Adare but there's too much work that goes into it. I've seen what Luke [Donald] went through, preparing for Rome.

    "There's no way you can be as good a captain as you need to be and be a playing captain as well. If you want to be the best captain you can be, you can't play. 

    "If you want to be the best player, you can't captain. So it's one or the other, especially with how big the Ryder Cup has become and how many things you have to do in the lead-up.

    "Keegan is the 19th-ranked in the world so he has a great chance of making the team. If he does, I think he's going to have to give that captaincy role to one of the vice-captains."

    Europe will look to win the Ryder Cup on American soil for the first time since 2012 next year, with the event starting on September 25.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.