The British Open, the last major golf championship of the year, doesn’t start until Thursday, but is already dominating sports newspapers this weekend as Tiger Woods’ comeback in 2022 and the Saudi drama come to a head.
Here’s what you need to know before the Open Championship – the oldest golf tournament in the world celebrating its 150th iteration – kicks off this week.
Tiger is back, back again
After Woods’ four-day Masters performance – not up to his old standards, but an equally impressive feat when he returned from a car accident that nearly killed him – he wriggled out of the PGA Championship for three days before retiring and his decision to sit out of the US Open to give himself time to recover.
The 46-year-old golfer competed in a Pro-Am earlier this week playing Ballybunion with Rory McIlroy. He won at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005, and the Old Course will host the 150th Open Championship this weekend. Woods also recorded a win at Royal Liverpool in 2006.
His close friend and fellow pro, Justin Thomas, told the media that “he’s been circling this on his calendar for a while, and he’s talked about it, and I think it’s his favorite golf course in the world and he loves it.” Thomas too said he and other golfers have fooled Woods for using a cart to get around, although he will be walking the course before the actual tournament.
R&A to Norman: don’t come
The R&A announced last month that LIV golfers would be allowed to participate in their major, saying that “openness has been fundamental to the ethos and unique appeal,” but they have explicitly uninvited two-time Open champion Greg Norman from their championship dinner for his role as spokesperson for the Saudi league.
“The 150th Open is an extremely important milestone for golf and we want to ensure that the focus remains on celebrating the championship and its heritage,” said the R&A. “Unfortunately, we don’t believe that would be the case if Greg were present.”
Norman, the CEO of LIV, has been a vocal supporter and active recruiter for the Saudi Arabia-backed competition. I think they have to draw a line somewhere, and that line stops at Greg Norman.