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Tiger Woods makes a statement in the 150th Open Championship

 

Even though he did not survive the cut, Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS) put on quite a show in the Open Championship, on and off the course.

The tournament didn’t need any hype because this was its 150th edition, combined with playing it on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

But Tiger set his sights on playing in the tournament, knowing at age 46 and battling a litany of injuries, this would likely be his last time in the Open Championship, certainly at St. Andrews.

He has played in the tournament 21 times, winning it the last time in 2006 to record his 51st PGA victory. Overall, he has won the event three times – 2000, 2005 and 2006. His first win in the tournament happened when St. Andrews played host. He duplicated the victory at the venue in 2005.

So, whatever he did in this year’s tournament was simply a bonus, one final time to see him tee it up at the Old Course.

Not only did he speak glowingly on the course and its place in history as the birthplace of golf, but he also used the opportunity to criticize players who have aligned themselves with the LIV Tour, in particular the younger ones. For the veterans who have chosen to grab the guaranteed money LIV is offering, clearly they realize they can no longer compete with the young guns on the PGA Tour and are more concerned about money than their reputation or place in history.

Many of these veterans have played in enough majors, some have even recorded victories and, barring a change in the rules, they will have a lifetime pass to play in the big four again.

But that may not be available to younger players, particularly because their positive results on the LIV Tour will not count in the Official World Golf Ranking. That is critical for automatic entry into the majors if they haven’t already won it or qualified for it. It also impacts qualifying for FedEx Cup playoffs.

When the Open Championship concludes on Sunday, it will be interesting to see if it is a PGA Tour-aligned player or LIV Tour-aligned player who wins.

Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5X), who has been a huge supporter of the PGA Tour and has absorbed numerous verbal blows from the LIV Tour, mainly from its head Greg Norman, has really turned around his game in the last few months. It began with his second-place finish in the Masters, highlighted by his heater in the final round, notably holing out from the bunker on the 18th hole.

He has gone through various ups and downs in his career, but he is clearly trending positively since the Masters.

He has also received support from Woods in terms of taking a stand against the LIV Tour. That matters because Tiger will gradually lose his place of importance on the day-to-day and year-to-year events of the PGA Tour. Clearly he has found comfortability in going out with a bang, vocally anyways, in this year’s Open Championship.

Figuratively, the mantle of importance is being handed off to McIlroy, who on and off the course has become more mature and accepting of his responsibility to the sport that has given him so much. He is not willing to turn his back on the PGA Tour. It’s almost like this is his year of destiny.

If he wins, it will be remembered as The Story Of Rory.

 

Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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