Tiger Woods has brushed off concerns about his physical state leading up to The Open at St Andrews, after being pictured using a cart for a Pro-Am event in Ireland.
Woods is preparing for the final major of the year in Scotland by playing in the JP McManus Pro-Am in Limerick.
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The 46-year-old continues to struggle with pain in his right leg from a shocking car crash in Los Angeles last year that left him requiring multiple leg surgeries.
Woods played in the Masters in April but withdrew from the USPGA Championship after three rounds in May and did not participate in last month’s US Open.
Fans have noticed him still walking in apparent discomfort with a significant limp in Ireland and the fact the 15-time major winner has been using a cart has left many fearing for his prospects at The Open.
Players are prohibited from using carts in major tournaments as well as other professional competitions around the world, but Woods insists he is merely taking a "sensible precaution" to ensure he's in the best physical state possible for his tilt at St Andrews.
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) July 6, 2022
Eldrick Tont “Tiger Woods” has a cart in a Pro-Am and still can’t walk. I’m almost disheartened.
— Joel Hines (@JoelHines) July 6, 2022
I'm sorry..I was volunteering at the pro am this Mon and Tues..I want Tiger to win again, but his limp the past two days (with a cart) was as noticeable as it was at the PGA...can't see him making the cut @TheOpen hope I'm wrong, but he looked awful...
— Michael Q (@mquigley1863) July 5, 2022
Tiger drove ball extremely well and irons much better today. Still wonder how endurance holds up without use of golf cart?
— Andrew Avakian (@avakattack) July 5, 2022
Watching the Irish Pro-Am, he seems to be having trouble walking sometimes, and that’s with using a cart even. Would love to see one last hurrah from Tiger, but just not sure it’s going to be there anymore
— The Bad Guy (@RazzzorRamon) July 5, 2022
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger since the PGA that’s for sure,” Woods told reporters on Tuesday.
“Putting in a lot more reps which has been great. I still prefer riding in a cart. I’m doing that here because I just don’t need to push it right now.
“I’ve got a long week ahead of me and all of next week to do that. So, save the legs, we can still train as hard as we do each and every day but as far as the duration on my feet, let’s just try and keep that to a minimum until we have to and then, when we have to, let’s go.”
Tiger Woods prioritises playing at The Open
Woods did concede that missing the US Open was not part oof his original plan to prepare for The Open at St Andrews.
“No, the plan was play the US Open but physically I wasn’t able to do that. There’s no way physically I could have done that. I had some issues with my leg and it would have put this tournament in jeopardy and so there’s no reason to do that.
“This is a pretty historic Open that we’re going to be playing. I’m lucky enough to be part of the past champions that have won there and want to play there again, and I don’t know when they are ever going to go back while I’m still able to play at a high level and I want to be able to get at least one more run at a high level.”
Woods has been crowned Open champion on three occasions, with two of those wins coming at St Andrews.
He insisted the efforts he has put in to be in a position to tee it up again in Fife have been worthwhile.
“Yes, it’s been worth it,” he said.
“It’s been hard. I’ve had some very difficult days and some days when just moving off the couch is a hell of a task. And that’s just the way it is.
“I’m very thankful for all the support I’ve gotten from my treatment staff, all of my surgeons for repairing this leg and keeping it and so I have my own two legs. I’m not going to take it for granted anymore. I know some people do.
“But people who have come close or who have lost a limb understand what I’m saying. You have difficult days but also you have great days. And my great days are not what they used to be, that’s for sure. But they’re great days which I get to spend with my kids and do things that they can do, maybe at a slightly slower pace, but I can still do it with them.”
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