Tiger Woods plays safe and misses Open

Tiger Woods' withdrawal from next week's Open Championship has been greeted in the locker room with a mixture of disappointment and concern.

The former world No 1 announced yesterday that he will miss the British major for the second time in four years, although the implications for his future caused just as much consternation.

Woods' absence from Royal St George's wasn't unexpected. The 35-year-old has played just nine holes in 12 weeks because of injuries to his left knee and Achilles and missed last month's US Open at Congressional. Last week Woods admitted his recovery had only allowed him to putt since pulling out of The Players after nine holes in mid May.

"Unfortunately, I've been advised that I should not play in the British Open," Woods said on his website. "As I stated at the AT&T National, I am only going to come back when I'm 100 per cent ready. I do not want to risk further injury. That's different for me, but I'm being smarter this time. I'm very disappointed and want to express my regrets to the British Open fans."

Woods famously won the 2008 US Open on "one leg", when he played with a torn ACL in his left knee, as well as with a stress fracture in his tibia. The resulting ACL reconstruction – the fourth operation on his left knee – saw him skip Royal Birkdale and the USPGA at Oakland Hills as he was sidelined for eight months. This will be the fourth time he has missed a major in his 15-year professional career.

Woods rang Peter Dawson, the Royal and Ancient's chief executive, to inform him of the news. "I know how disappointed Tiger is not to be able to play in the Open this year," said Dawson. "We are sorry that a player of his calibre isn't able to join us at Royal St George's, but we wish him well in his recovery and hope to see him back soon, competing in front of the fans that love to see him play the game."

The R&A will not be too alarmed at his absence. At Birkdale, the 200,000 attendance was as forecast, as was the British TV viewing figures. The US audience may have "dropped off a cliff" but the R&A have signed their TV deals and have the money in the bank. Furthermore, Woods is not the draw he was pre-scandal.

But for the player now ranked down at 17th in the world this is just the latest setback. Since the revelations of multiple affairs emerged 19 months ago which led to his divorce, Woods has failed to win in 23 tournaments and seen his reputation plummet. He dropped heavy hints of a return to form with a fourth-place finish at the Masters in April, but unbeknownst to observers he had sprained his troublesome knee and Achilles while hitting a ball from under a tree at Augusta. The word is that Woods is confident of returning at the WGC event in Akron in four weeks' time – and then playing in the following week's USPGA Championship in Atlanta. But the long-term fears are as inevitable as they are obvious. Padraig Harrington summed up the mood of his colleagues preparing here in Inverness for the Scottish Open.

"It's unfortunate for the game of golf," said the Dubliner, who actually won the first two majors which Woods missed. "He is still the name we all look out for the most. As rivals, it is not that we wanted him to turn up and win next week. But it would still have been nice to have him there and create some of the buzz at the event. Let's hope it isn't that bad. It really is a long time for the injury. Let's hope it fully recovers and he comes back and plays great golf."

In America, Matt Kuchar, the world No 8, offered a contrasting opinion. "I don't think the Open will be diminished," said Woods' Ryder Cup team-mate. "It is a little more exciting when he is around and particularly when he is playing really well but I don't see it as a real loss to the Open. It is still going to be a great event with or without Tiger and is going to have a great champion."

The prevalent view will be that this will put even more pressure on Rory McIlroy. The 22-year-won the US Open by eight strokes, becoming the youngest European major-winner in 139 years, and has already been talked up as a rival of Woods in the major charts. But McIlroy would have been a hot favourite with the bookmakers regardless of Woods and Harrington believes his fellow Irishman could not fit any more on his plate.

Said Harrington: "I think Rory is at saturation point with pressure. You can pour more pressure on him, but he can only take so much. It's just spilling out over the top now."

News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine