St Andrews - Tiger Woods has vowed to battle on against the dimming of the
light after another desperately disappointing showing at the Open Championship
The game's once predominant force packed his bags and headed for home after
finishing seven shots adrift of the cut mark and tied for 147th place out of
156 starters at St Andrews.
That came a month after he slumped out of Chambers Bay and the US Open in a
similar gloomy fashion just a month ago.
They are just the latest humiliations in a year that has seen Woods mired in
by far the worst slump of a professional career which started 19 years ago.
Woods had sympathetic support from the knowledgeable St Andrews golf fans as
he trudged his way off the course late Saturday evening.
They had cheered, admired and lionised him in 2000 when he won his first
Open Championship by a whopping eight strokes, and five years later when he
triumphed by five shots at an Old Course he calls his favourite place in the
There is much head-shaking and hand-wringing now over the way things have
Woods himself had no real answer as to what he needs to do next, short of
sticking to his guns.
"Keep going. Keep going forward," was all he could offer.
"I play in a couple weeks in (Washington) DC, so looking forward to
playing the Quicken Loans, and hopefully win that event so I can get into a
place that I know very well."
In fact the last time Woods was in that (winning) place was at the 2013 WGC
Bridgestone-Invitational at a time when he was still ranked first in the world.
Since then it has gone from bad to worse, first with a succession of
injuries and then with changes to his swing pattern that for the moment just do
not seem to be working, although he insists that things are heading in the
Coming into St Andrews he genuinely felt he could win his 15th major title
and move to within three of the all-time record held by Jack Nicklaus.
The reality though was very different to his expectations.
"I'm just not scoring. Every opportunity I have to make a key putt or
hit an iron shot in there stiff with a short iron and get some momentum going,
I haven't done that," he said.
"I haven't gotten anything out of my rounds. I'll hit good shots, I'll
string together some good shots and good holes and put myself in position to
make a run, and I don't do it."
Woods at least has one major left to play this year - the PGA Championship
at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin next month - to try and save something from the
wreckage of a year that also saw him split with long-time girlfriend, champion
skier Lindsey Vonn, in May.
Further down the line he will likely have another crack at a St Andrews Open
when it next returns to the Old Course in 2020 when he will be pushing 45 years
"I'll probably have less hair then and hopefully a little better
game," he quipped as he headed for the exit door.