There’s just something extra about having the Open Championship at the iconic St. Andrews Old Course. And there’s just something a little extra about having Tiger Woods in the mix.
The most famous golfer in the world is in Scotland to take on the Old Lady. While his body is hardly in the best shape of his life, the still healing Woods is certainly feeling like the Tiger of old.
Talking trash, smiling and being pointed with his criticism. Woods is the headliner in name and persona headed into sport’s most precious weekend.
Anytime the 46-year-old is near a fresh cut of grass the story is all about him and what kind of chance he has to make red-shirt Sunday a victorious one.
The last few weeks being what they have been, there is another story that continues to smother all others, and that’s LIV Golf and the smattering of golfers that have bolted to the Saudi-backed league.
LIV Let LIV
Woods made his thoughts known on Tuesday, making no doubts as to where his immediate future lies.
Of Greg Norman, the CEO and LIV commissioner, Woods reminded us that he tried to jumpstart a league back in the 90s.
“It didn’t work then, and he’s trying to make it work now,” he said via the New York Times. “I still don’t see how that’s in the best interests of the game.”
As for the players and their interests, Tiger remains ever the competitor, thinking in terms of rankings and legacy.
“I just don’t see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players, especially if the LIV organization doesn’t get world-ranking points and the major championships change their criteria for entering the events.”
And for someone who revolutionized the sport and what it means to be fit enough to take on a full schedule of events, Woods had thoughts, via NY Times.
“I can understand 54 holes is almost like a mandate when you get to the Senior Tour — the guys are a little bit older and a little more banged up — but when you’re at this young age and some of these kids — they really are kids who have gone from amateur golf into that organization — 72-hole tests are a part of it.”
Obviously, it’s easier to throw shade at other golfers when you are not only the best to ever set foot on a green but also someone who has amassed nearly $2 billion over the course of a career.
Saudi sports washing aside, perspective gets tweaked just a bit when you are on the summit looking down on other beleaguered golfers.
The sport is in turmoil. LIV Golf continues to pluck off PGA Tour professionals for a series of events that are far less entertaining to watch than its organizers have promised.
Woods continues to heal from a Feb. 2021 crash that drastically altered the course of his career. Earlier this week he played the Old Course but did so with a noticeable limp.
But that hasn’t brought the mood down one bit as the famously locked-in Tiger has loosened up a bit as you can see below.
The stage is set for what could be an epic weekend. Tiger Woods could walk the course for four days as he challenges the leaderboard.
Or he could bounce after three rounds as he did at the PGA Championship.
For the moment, however, there is some normalcy. There is some merriment and, dare I say, a bit of mirth.
The sport may be cannibalizing itself but, hey, a bad weekend at the Old Course is never actually a bad time.