Woods was visibly emotional after missing the cut at St Andrews on Friday

Golf icon Tiger Woods has admitted that the respect shown to him by his friend (and occasional rival) Rory McIlroy on the 18th hole of what is likely his final appearance at The Open at St Andrews was the reason behind his tears on Friday.

Woods, 46, was visibly emotional as he failed to make the cut at the 150th iteration of The Open, finishing with a score of nine over par, and was reduced to tears as he walked down the fairway to complete his final hole. 

Despite being a three-time winner of the event (and twice at St Andrews), it is well-known that Woods’ best days are behind him – with his very participation at the major remarkable given the serious injuries he sustained in a serious car accident in February 2021.

Woods’ walk to the 18th green was also noted by Rory McIlroy. The Irishman, playing on an adjacent hole, tipped his cap to American as he made what is likely his final walk to the green as a professional at the world famous Scottish course.

And Woods admitted afterwards that it was this indication of respect which prompted him to break down.

Spine-tingling scenes as Tiger Woods soaks in the appreciation from the fans at the18th 👏🥺 pic.twitter.com/guLLUGD1Im

— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) July 15, 2022

No, not then,” Woods said when asked if the crowd reaction was the motivation behind his emotions. 

As I walked further along the fairway, I saw Rory right there. He gave me the tip of the cap.

It was a pretty cool, the nods I was getting from guys as they were going out and I was coming in, just the respect, that was pretty neat. And from a players’ fraternity level, it’s neat to see that and feel that.

Then as I got into the shot, or closer to the green and more into the hole, the ovation got louder and you could feel the warmth and you could feel the people from both sides. Felt like the whole tournament was right there.

They all had appreciated what I’ve done here for the years I’ve played, I’ve won two championships here, my British Open success and all my times I’ve enjoyed here in Scotland and playing, I felt like it just came to a head right there as I was walking to my golf ball.”

Yep he did. Here you go: pic.twitter.com/A8TQZGEbfM

— Tom Fairbrother 🏃🏼 (@fairboyruns) July 15, 2022

The Open isn’t due to return to St. Andrews until 2030, so it remains highly unlikely that Woods will ever have a chance to record a third victory at the course (and fourth British Open title overall).

He added: “It was very emotional for me. I’ve been coming here since 1995. I think the next one [at St Andrews] could be coming around in 2030, I don’t know if I’ll be able to physically play by then.

To me, it felt like this might have been my last British Open here at St Andrews. The fans, the ovation, and the warmth, it was an unbelievable feeling.

The collective warmth and understanding, they understand what golf is all about and what it takes to be an Open champion. I’ve been lucky and fortunate enough to win it twice here.

It felt very emotional, just because I don’t know what my health is going to be like. I feel like I will be able to play future British Opens, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to play long enough until it comes back here.”

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