The last time The Open Championship was contested at Royal Liverpool, Tiger Woods walked away with his third Claret Jug and at the time, his 11th major championship victory.
Of course, a lot has changed since then, both on and off the course for the former No. 1 ranked player in the world.
A divorce from then wife Elin Nordegren in 2010. The fact he has not won a major since 2008, accompanied by the recent microdiscectomy surgery to repair his back — Have left many wondering what Tiger they will see at The Open Championship.
Of course with many, it’s all about what happens on the course with Woods. However in his recent press conference, Woods goes into a little further details of how his quality of life not just with golf, but off the course has progressed since having the procedure.
“There was a point in time — when my knee was bad, it was tough, but I could still chip and putt. I could still go out there on the golf course,” said Woods. “This particular injury with my back, I didn’t want to do anything. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t move around the house. I couldn’t do anything.”
“That made me appreciate just how fortunate I was to be able to play at that level for such a long period of time. And do it for the better part of 17 years at a pretty high level. It made me appreciate that a lot more. Because the knee, when I had no ACL, and my leg was pretty trashed, I could actually still go out there and play. I couldn’t do it with this injury. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t actually enjoy my life. Just life, the daily things of just moving around. It just wasn’t a whole lot of fun.”
Continuing on the topic of how his life and quality of life was and continues to be a process both on and of the course after his back surgery. Woods was asked if ever thought that with all the pain prior to the surgery, if he thought that he would never be out there again?
“If I was feeling like that, then I couldn’t play again, no,” Woods proclaimed. “As I said, I actually couldn’t get out of bed. It was a pretty — the people who have had my surgery, they’ve all said the same thing. It just changes your whole life. It just takes away all the pain. Yeah, you’re sore from the incision, but you don’t have that radiating pain that goes down the leg.”
“Once that was removed, even though I was hurting from the surgery, itself, I knew I could come back and I could play. It was just a matter of time before I got out here and was able to play at the elite level again.”
As to be expected, many if not all eyes will be on Woods as he tees off in round one at Royal Liverpool with Henrik Stenson and Angel Cabrera at 4:04 am (EST) this Thursday, seeking his 15th major championship title.
Will the rust we saw at the US Open still be present in his game?
Can his back and physical endurance hold up in the ever changes conditions of an Open venue on a links course?
All of these questions and more are waiting to be answered on the links of Royal Liverpool at the 2014 Open Championship.