By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent, Augusta
Tiger Woods confirmed he will contest the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews after receiving an “unbelievable” reception from spectators following his final round in the 86th Masters.
Woods carded a second consecutive 78 to finish 13 over par, but was given a standing ovation as he walked towards the 18th green and had a broad grin on his face as he headed to Augusta National’s clubhouse.
Questions were raised about the 46-year-old’s future following his car accident in February last year and Woods told CBS: “I had the same questions.
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 10, 2022
“It was an unbelievable feeling to have the patrons and their support out there. I was not exactly playing my best out there and to have the support, I don’t think words can really describe that given where I was and what my prospects were at that time.
“To end up here and play all four rounds, even a month ago I didn’t know if I could pull this off.
“It’s hard. I have those days where I just don’t want to do anything, it just hurts, but I have had a great team around me that are positive, that have motivated me and helped me around.
“There have been more tough days than easy days and I just have to work through it. I have put in the time and the hard part is the recovery sessions. Those ice baths really suck.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Woods said he was unsure about playing next month’s US PGA Championship at Southern Hills, but that he would be at the Old Course in July.
“I won’t be playing a full schedule ever again, it’ll be just the big events,” he added.
“I am looking forward to St Andrews. That is something that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve won two Opens there, it’s the home of golf, it’s my favourite golf course in the world. I will be there for that one.”
Asked if being able to compete this week was one of the greatest achievements of his career, given the circumstances, Woods told reporters at Augusta: “For not winning an event, yes. Yes, without a doubt.
“To go from where I was to get to this point, I’ve had an incredible team that has helped me get to this point and incredible support.
“As I alluded to in the press conference on Tuesday, the amount of texts and FaceTimes and calls I got from players that are close to me throughout this entire time has meant a lot.”
Woods also reiterated that some of the players who live near him in Florida are among the handful of people who can appreciate how badly he was injured in the car accident in Los Angeles.
“I don’t think people really understand,” he said. “The people who are close to me understand. They’ve seen it. Some of the players who are close to me have seen it and have seen some of the pictures and the things that I have had to endure.
“They appreciate it probably more than anyone else because they know what it takes to do this out here at this level.
“It’s one thing to play with my son at a hit-and-giggle (December’s PNC Championship), but it’s another thing to play in a major championship.
“It’s been a tough road, and one that I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to be able to grind through it.
“A lot of different things could have happened, but 14 months (after the accident), I’m able to tee it up and play in the Masters.”