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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence