Tiger Woods admitted age and a troublesome back will make competing for more major titles all the more difficult after shooting a seven-over par opening round at the British Open on Thursday.
Woods captured the world’s attention by winning his 15th major at the Masters in April and his first for 11 years following a series of injuries and scandals.
Spinal fusion surgery allowed him to return to elite level golf in December 2017, but the 43-year-old never looked comfortable in the cold as wind and rain battered the Portrush coastline.
“I’m just not moving as well as I’d like. Unfortunately, you’ve got to be able to move, and especially under these conditions, shape the golf ball,” said Woods.
“I didn’t shape the golf ball at all. Everything was left-to-right and I wasn’t hitting very solidly.”
Woods has not played since the US Open last month and conceded earlier in the week that he will have to scale down the number of tournaments from his calendar to try and keep competing for more majors.
“It’s just the way it is. Just father time and some procedures I’ve had over the time,” he added.
“One of the reasons why I’m playing less tournaments this year is that I can hopefully prolong my career, and be out here for a little bit longer.”
Followed by swathes of spectators, Woods struggled off the tee from the start, but was rescued by his short game to make four straight pars.
“My warmup wasn’t very good. I had a hard time moving and just trying to piece together a swing that will get me around a golf course,” he added.
“Then all of a sudden I made probably one of the best pars you’ve ever seen on one today. That was a pretty good start, but it was kind of downhill from there.”
Woods dropped six shots in his next six holes with bogeys and at five, seven, nine and 10 compounded by a double bogey at the par-three sixth.
There was one moment for the gallery to cheer as he nailed a long putt for his only birdie of the day on 15, but that followed another bogey on 14 and he dropped another shot at the last to leave his chances of even making the cut in danger.
Woods found himself 12 shots behind clubhouse leader J.B. Holmes, who birdied the 18th for a five-under par round of 66.