2019 Open: Tiger Woods reveals how much winning Masters took out of him
Tiger Woods reckons that finding a winning formula on a new Open venue could be easier than mastering Augusta National for the fifth time earlier this year.
The 148th edition of golf’s oldest major takes place this week at Royal Portrush – the event’s first visit to the County Antrim coast since 1951.
Woods, a three-time winner of the event, is one of the title favourites after ending a nine-year drought in the majors to land a sensational success in the Masters in April.
The 43-year-old turned back the clock to claim that triumph but, three months on, it appears he is still trying to top up his energy tank.
“Getting myself into position to win the Masters took a lot out of me,” admitted the 15-time major winner. “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 or eight guys had a chance to win the golf tournament with only, what, six holes to play. And so it became very crowded.
“A lot of different scenarios happened. 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.”
As did celebrating with his two children, Charlie and Sam, as well as his mum, Tilda, behind the 18th green after screaming with joy seconds after he’d holed the winning putt.
“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,” said Woods of finishing sixth at Carnoustie as he got himself in the major mix for the first time, really, since undergoing four back surgeries in three years.
“And this time they got to see me win a major championship. So it was special for us as a family. It was a very emotional week and one that I keep reliving. It’s hard to believe that I pulled it off.”
This week’s event has been a sell-out for almost a year as the world’s top players bid to follow in the footsteps of England’s Max Faulkner, the winner in 1951.
“This is an unbelievable golf course,” said Woods. “It can play so many different ways, depends on the wind, what it does. Some of the bunkers here, you wonder why in the hell is it there. And then all of a sudden it’s in play!”