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Tiger Woods could get the last moment of the British Open if it’s his last

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Could we be seeing the end of Tiger Woods in St. Andrews this week, as he competes in the 150th British Open on the legendary Old Course?

How will we (and Woods) feel when he crosses the Swilcan Bridge after starting on the 18th for the last time this week – be it Sunday or (God forbid) Friday?

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Will Woods – at 46 and with a body that’s been broken down from double-digit numbered surgeries and 17 months removed from that horrific car accident that nearly cost him his right leg – being overwhelmed with emotion knowing that this might be his last time doing this march as a legitimate competitor to the Claret Jug?

Woods has done a lot in his brilliant and record-breaking career: he has won 82 tournaments, including 15 major championships, and he has dramatically changed the competitive and financial landscape of the game.

But one thing Woods hasn’t done is show a lot of emotion publicly. Woods rarely allows the public to peek into his soul. Perhaps the only real exception to this was 2006, when he won his third British Open at Hoylake just months after the death of his father, Earl, and collapsed in the arms of his caddie. of the time, Steve Williams, in tears.

Woods, however, is an astute historian of the game. Legacy matters to him. He calls St. Andrews, where he won the 2000 and 2005 British Open, his favorite course in the world. His 2005 victory at the Old Course came two days after Jack Nicklaus took his final walk across the Swilcan Bridge as a competitor.

These things are not lost on Woods.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods greets the fans.
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Nicklaus, dressed in a red sweater vest over a white shirt with dark slacks and white golf shoes, stopping to pose on the deck and waving his right arm in front of adoring onlookers and a phalanx of photographers to acknowledge the moment is one of the most iconic images in sports.

Will Woods take a break when he crosses the bridge for the last time this week?

He alone knows.

What is certain is that there will be at least as many photographers when this happens as there were in 2005 for Nicklaus.

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Tiger Woods celebrates winning the 2005 British Open.
PA

Make no mistake: Woods treasures each of his 15 majors, three shy of Nicklaus’ record of 18, but he treasures his British Opens won at St. Andrews the most.

“As Jack says, your career isn’t complete until you win an open championship at the Home of Golf, and I think he’s right in that regard,” Woods said. “It’s a fairly historic Open that we are going to play. I am lucky to be one of the former champions who won there and who want to play there again.

“I don’t know when they’re going to come back while I’m still able to play at a high level, and I want to be able to give him at least one more run at a high level.”

This last sentence was revealing:

A higher level race.

After seeing Woods play the Masters in April and the PGA Championship in May, so clearly physically compromised by injuries resulting from the February 2021 car crash, it’s arguable he has yet to show any real signs. playing at a “high level”. ‘ – if ‘high level’ is measured as a level good enough to win.

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Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in 2005.
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Tiger
Tiger Woods at the JP McManus Pro-Am.
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Woods – who last played in this PGA Championship at Southern Hills but was forced to retire after the third round because his body couldn’t take it anymore – speaks like a great athlete who knows his end is near. .

And that’s a bit sobering for those of us who have followed and chronicled his entire career, because it was easy to get so lost in the incredible things he did that it felt like they were going to last. eternally.

“I think he realizes that the end is imminent and much closer than he would like to admit, just reflecting on his performance over the last two majors,” close friend Notah Begay said, now. journalist on the course of NBC.

“It would be easy to start staring at Tiger with misty eyes and wondering if you’re ever going to see that again,” NBC broadcaster Paul Azinger said. “Historically, this is where the greats took their last step. [But] usually the tall ones weren’t hurt like that and had their leg twisted.

“I don’t know how sentimental it’s going to be to watch Tiger play this round. I personally think he has more in him. I don’t want to say it’s a swan song yet.

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