Tiger Watch

Tiger Woods decides against playing the U.S. Open at Brookline

Richard Heathcote

By Dan Rapaport
Tiger Woods will not play in next week’s U.S. Open, opting to withdraw from the tournament and instead give his surgically rebuilt right leg added time to rest ahead of the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Woods put out a statement Tuesday on social media announcing his decision to skip the championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.:

Woods, who sustained traumatic injuries in a car accident in February 2021, returned to competition with a 47th-place finish at the Masters in April, where he opened with 71-73 but faded considerably over the weekend. Woods said prior to his next start, at last month’s PGA Championship that his leg had gotten stronger since Augusta and that he was optimistic about his chances—“It’s only going to keep getting stronger,” Woods told reporters before the PGA Championship—but the week followed a similar pattern to the Masters: He made the cut at with a gutsy second-round 69 only to withdraw after a third-round 79.

Dealt a tough blow with cool temperatures, which have plagued him ever since his spinal fusion surgery in 2017, Woods was visibly limping on Saturday at Southern Hills and trying to avoid putting weight on his right leg. The early exit, officially due to “pain and discomfort,” was Woods’ first withdrawal from a major championship as a professional.

Woods is a three-time U.S. Open champion (2000, 2002 and 2008) but has struggled in U.S. Opens of recent vintage, which tend to reward length and accuracy rather than creativity and guile. He has missed the cut in three of his last four U.S. Open starts and does not have a top-10 since 2010.

Since his return at the Masters, Woods has maintained that he will play in the Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he has won two of his three Claret Jugs. Woods is also committed to playing in the two-day J.P. McManus Pro-Am at the Adare Manor in Ireland the week prior to the Open Championship. He has said throughout this latest comeback that his days of playing a full-time schedule are over, and it is not clear whether he will play any more events in addition to the Open Championship.

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