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."

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable