The third major tournament of the year has arrived, and once again, the world’s most famous golfer is not a part of the field. Tiger Woods won’t participate in the 2016 British Open, and his eventual return remains a mystery.
It’s been nearly a year since Woods last played competitive golf, posting a top-10 finish at the Wyndham Championship in August of 2015. He underwent back surgery a month later, and has been since working on making his way back to the PGA Tour.
"Well, I'm playing. I just need more time," Woods told the CBS golf broadcast crew in late June. "I still need to get stronger, need to recover faster and that's just unfortunately going to take time, which I'm not a very patient person when it comes to that as you know over the years. Pushing through some of my injuries, pushing through some of my rehabs, I've come back and I've won. I've won major championships doing it that way but this one's different. This one I'm older, it takes a little longer to recover and to heal, and I'm going to do it right so I don't have another surgery."
Before he underwent surgery last year, Woods wasn’t competitive in the sport’s biggest tournament. Seeking an elusive 15th major championship, he failed to make the cut at the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, following a 17th-place finish at the 2015 Masters.
But while Woods maintains that he will be back, not everyone is as confident.
“Physically, I don’t think he is (in) good shape unfortunately. If you watched that promotion he did for his tournament recently when he walked onto the tee you’d see that,” three-time British Open winner Nick Faldo said, via the Mirror.
“His back is basically locked up. He said he has had three surgeries on it and he’s just not as flexible as you need to be for golf so I think unfortunately he’s not looking good to even make a comeback as a golfer. We shall see.”
Woods hasn’t won a tournament in nearly three years, and his last major victory came at the 2008 U.S. Open when he was 32 years old. He hasn’t won the British Open since 2006.