Tiger Woods headed straight for the physiotherapist after posting his worst first-round score at The Open.
The Masters champion, who is restricted by the four operations he has had on his back, knew as soon as he began warming up on the range around 2pm he was in for a testing day.
And the seven-over 78 he carded – which included just one birdie that did not arrive until the 15th hole – proved his point.
It was the 15-time major winner’s worst 18 holes at an Open since an 81 in round three at Muirfield in 2002, but he admitted there was little he could do about it and hoped treatment would get him in a better state for Friday.
“That’s about all I can do. Hopefully the body responds. That’s just the nature of the procedure that I had,” said Woods, who goes out again at 10.09am on Friday.
“I’m going to have days like this and I’ve got to fight through it. And I fought through it. Unfortunately I did not post a very good score.
“I’m sore. You’ve got to be spot on. These guys are too good. There are too many guys that are playing well and I’m just not one of them.”
Woods’ start was mixed to say the least as he found the left rough off the first tee, hit his approach into a bunker but managed to get up and down for par.
He admits that was about as good as it got and even his solitary birdie was celebrated with a sarcastic licking of his right index finger to chalk up a number one in the air.
“My warm-up 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.
“I hit a lot of missed shots, they were all left. I wasn’t hitting it solid. Everything was off the heel. I was just trying to scrape it around. The best I could do was seven-over.”
Woods had taken a month off after the US Open and had not played a competitive round ahead of the first round at Royal Portrush.
He spoke pre-tournament about having to manage his schedule in an attempt to sustain some longevity in what is left of his top-level career.
And he is having to come to terms with lower expectations and not necessarily being able to compete every time he tees it up like he did in the past.
“It’s going to be a lot more difficult. I’m not 24 any more. Life changes, life moves on and I can’t devote the hours to practice like I used to,” he said.
“I have to be realistic about my expectations and hopefully peaking at the right time.
“I peaked at Augusta well and hopefully I can peak a few more times this year.”
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Tiger Woods will favour quality over quantity in a bid to prolong his career after admitting he was emotionally and physically drained by his Masters triumph.
Woods told Jack Nicklaus “I’m done” at the Champions Dinner ahead of the 2017 Masters, but flew to London later that night to consult a specialist, subsequently underwent career-saving spinal fusion surgery and won his 15th major title at Augusta National in April.
The 43-year-old has played just 10 tournament rounds since, taking four weeks off before missing the cut in the US PGA Championship then finishing ninth in the Memorial Tournament and 21st in the US Open.
Woods went straight from Pebble Beach to Thailand on a family holiday and concedes his game is not as sharp as he would like ahead of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, but believes he has no option but to play a limited schedule.
“Getting myself into position to win the Masters, it took a lot out of me,” said Woods, who has had four knee operations and four back surgeries during his illustrious career. That golf course puts so much stress on the system.
“Then if you look at that leaderboard after Francesco (Molinari) made the mistake at 12, it seemed like seven, eight guys had a chance to win the golf tournament with only six holes to play.
“I was reading the leaderboard all the time trying to figure out what the number is going to be, who is on what hole. And it took quite a bit out of me.
“Seeing my kids there, they got a chance to experience the Open Championship last year after their dad took the lead and then made a few mistakes. And this time they got to see me win a major championship.
“Charlie was too young to remember when I won in Akron (in 2013) and Sam was one when I won at Torrey (2008 US Open). My mom was there and she had been in ’97 for my first win.
“So it was a very emotional week and one that I keep reliving. It’s hard to believe that I pulled it off and I end up winning the tournament.”
Woods has not been helped by a change to the calendar in 2019 which saw the Players Championship move to March and the US PGA switch from August to May, meaning there is a major championship each month from April to July.
And he has learnt his lesson from 2018 when he played 19 individual events and arrived in Paris for the Ryder Cup exhausted after his victory in the Tour Championship just hours earlier.
“Last year I played a little bit too much, the body was pretty beat up,” Woods added. “After I won in Atlanta you saw what I did at the Ryder Cup.
“I was worn out and unfortunately I didn’t contribute to the team at all in points and we end up losing. A lot of it was trying to qualify for certain events, trying to get me where my world ranking would get me in some of the bigger events.
“So this year I made a conscious effort to cut back on my schedule. I want to play here as long as I possibly can and you have to understand if I play a lot, I won’t be out here that long.”
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Tiger Woods took a phlegmatic approach to missing the cut in the US PGA Championship at Bethpage.
Woods had been one of the favourites to claim a 16th major title after his emotional victory in the Masters last month, but missed the cut by a single shot following rounds of 72 and 73.
The former world number one had been unable to practice on Wednesday due to illness and had not played competitively since winning his first major for 11 years at Augusta National.
“I’m not playing the weekend. That’s disappointing,” Woods said. “Just didn’t quite have it. (But) I’m the Masters champion and 43-years-old and that’s a pretty good accomplishment.
“I’ve enjoyed being the Masters champion again, the PGA was a quick turnaround and unfortunately I just didn’t play well. I didn’t do all the little things I need to do correctly to post good scores and put myself in position to shoot good scores.”
Asked about his lack of preparation, Woods added: “It’s just the way it goes. You know, just don’t feel well and (am) just not able to do it. But resting would be better, so I would have energy to play.
“There’s no reason why I can’t get up to speed again and crank it back up. I’ve got to start feeling a little bit better first before that happens. We’ll do that first and then start cranking it back up again.
“I just wasn’t moving the way I needed to. That’s the way it goes. There’s going to be days and weeks where it’s just not going to work, and today was one of those days.”