Tiger Woods has suffered a humiliating start to The Open and suddenly he could be walking off the course for the final time.

Tiger Woods is heading into Saturday morning’s second round of The Open knowing it may be the final time he plays the iconic St Andrews.

Woods endured a miserable return to the British Open as the three-time champion laboured to a six-over-par 78 to leave his chances of making the cut looking slim.

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His round of 78 is his equal worst ever round at the The Open in 22 starts.

On a course where he has lifted the Claret Jug twice before, Woods’ first appearance at a British Open since 2019 had been highly anticipated.

But the 15-time major winner’s round never recovered from a double-bogey at the first after a poor approach shot found the water.

“It’s a disaster,” one commentator said on the BBC.

Woods’ time at the home of golf may be coming to a sudden end.

Aussie golf expert Luke Elvy posted on Twitter: “Don’t miss tomorrow’s round, it’s highly likely to be his last competitive one around the Old Course”.

In a sad end to a marathon day where he was in the final playing group, Woods walked to the 18th green with only a small group of fans cheering on.

The sad end for Woods was summed up by Yahoo’s senior sports writer Jay Busbee, who wrote on Twitter viewers on TV could still pick up the individual voices of the few fans left cheering him on.

Even Woods’ own website published a statement brutally ripping into the golf icon.

“Woods played his first seven holes in six over par to eject himself from relevance in his 22nd Open Championship start and needed to play his final 10 holes in one-under par to salvage a barely respectable six-over 78,” the statement read.

Woods missed the Open last year due to a car crash in February 2021 that left him requiring major surgery to his right leg.

The physical effects of that accident were evident as he hobbled around the course in a round lasting over six hours on a day marred by slow play.

Another double-bogey plus dropped shots at the third and fourth left the 46-year-old six-over through seven holes.

There were sparks of the old Woods in back-to-back birdies on the ninth and 10th to the delight of huge galleries following the American’s every shot.

However, bogeys at 11, 13 and 16 on the back nine left him 14 shots behind leader Cameron Young after day one. Aussie Cameron Smith is third at five-under.

The top 70 players and ties make the cut after two rounds.

Only seven in the field shot a worse score than Woods in the first round, leaving one of the game’s all-time greats down in 146th and needing a drastic turnaround in his second round to extend his tournament into the weekend.

With the Open not returning to St Andrews any time soon, it is very likely his second round could be the final time Woods walks into the clubhouse.

Young dazzles with red hot opening round

Cameron Young of the United States stormed into the lead with an eight-under-par 64 in the first round of the 150th British Open at St Andrews, but Rory McIlroy sat just two strokes behind after an impressive start to his bid for the Claret Jug.

Young, the 25-year-old American, produced a flawless round featuring no bogeys and eight birdies.

That gave him a two-shot lead in the clubhouse from McIlroy, whose 66 included three straight birdies between the fifth and seventh holes.

Young, ranked 32nd in the world, finished tied third in this year’s PGA Championship and has now put himself in a strong position to be a contender into the weekend.

“I think any time you’re around the lead in a major championship or any PGA Tour event, frankly, you get more and more comfortable every time,” said Young, who first played the Old Course with his parents aged 13.

“Whether I’m leading by three or one or four back after today, I’ll sleep just fine.” McIlroy was the favourite for the Claret Jug coming into the week and the Northern Irishman, who won the Open in 2014, lived up to his billing in the opening round.

His 66, featuring just one dropped shot at the par-four 13th hole, matched his score in the opening round on his way to victory at Hoylake eight years ago.

“I need to go out tomorrow and back up what I just did today. I think that’s important to do,” said the 33-year-old, who will not tee off until mid-afternoon on Friday.

“But again, this golf course isn’t going to change that much, I don’t think, between today and tomorrow in terms of conditions.”

— with AFP

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