Woods thrilled to be in the Open mix again

Carl Markham
Tiger Woods rolled back the years at Carnoustie with a top-six finish in The British Open

Tiger Woods says being back in contention at the Open felt just like the old days again and was delighted his two children finally got to see what all the fuss was about.

Woods held the outright lead at Carnoustie heading into his back nine as he looked to end his decade-long major drought, but dropped three shots in two holes and never regained the momentum.

The 14-time major winner eventually finished three shots behind Italian champion Francesco Molinari.

However, swept along by a massive gallery cheering his every move, this was the biggest indication yet since returning from a fourth back operation that Woods can compete at the highest level again.

Daughter Sam, aged 11, and son Charlie, nine, were too young to see their dad in his pomp but they greeted him with a hug behind the 18th green.

"I told them I tried, and I said 'hopefully you're proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did'," he said.

"It's pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs and squeezes there.

"I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again.

"To me, it's just so special to have them aware because I've won a lot of golf tournaments in my career, but they don't remember any of them.

"The only thing they've seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me so that's just such a great feeling."

The 42-year-old's hopes of a remarkable comeback after a turbulent spell in his life - during which he has encountered off-course problems with the break-up of his marriage and a run-in with the law - were alive and well on the back nine.

"It didn't feel any different. I've done it so many different ways," he added.

"It felt great to be a part of the mix and build my way into the championship. Today was a day that I had a great opportunity.

"It was a blast. I was saying earlier that I need to try and keep it in perspective because, at the beginning of the year, if they'd have said you're playing the Open Championship I would have said I'd be very lucky to do that."