Tiger Woods’ chances to win the 2018 Open Championship were surely dashed by the time he had reached the 72nd hole at Carnoustie Golf Links on Sunday evening.
His playing partner, Francesco Molinari, was one of two players tied for the lead at 7-under par, two shots clear of Woods, but with plenty on the line, including achieving his goal of reaching the top-50 in the world, which would secure him an invite to the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in two weeks, every shot still mattered.
After Molinari found the fairway with his drive, Woods stepped up with a driver on the 18th hole looking to get one shot deeper when a fan in the hospitality tents to the left of the tee yelled out in his backswing.
It’s worth noting that there is a slight delay in audio and visuals for shots that will have the tracer technology on them, meaning the shout came mid-swing.
“I flinched, but I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day. Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be on social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”
Oh my God. Someone from the chalets barks something in Tiger’s downswing. To the guillotine!
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) July 22, 2018
According to The Mirror, the fan allegedly screamed “Free Palestine,” and made an offensive gesture towards Woods before being ejected.
Despite the distraction, Woods still found the first cut just off the fairway some 350 yards off of the tee leaving him a 119-yard wedge into the home hole. Woods stuck the approach to six feet, but missed the birdie putt, which left him in a tie for sixth place.
Woods’ solid finish will be overshadowed by the fact that he was holding a solo lead through 63 holes of the championship, but a double-bogey, bogey stretch on the 10th and 11th holes doomed his fate. Even still, Woods was able to rise above the frustrations of the moment to take stock of how far he’s come since January.
“I know that it’s going to sting for a little bit here, but given where I was to where I’m at now, (I’m) blessed,” Woods said.
The T-6 finish was Woods’ best finish in a major since the 2013 Open at Muirfield where he finished T-6, five shots behind Phil Mickelson.