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Executive Sport Co: Tiger Woods talks about British Open, health and legacy
Woods had pressed in the Masters that year, knowing his father, Earl, would most likely never see him play again.
“Following that, Woods had a tough time in the U.S. Open and missed the cut. Then he arrived at Hoylake for the 2006 Open,” says Kyle Gaspari, founder of Executive Sports Co. in Burlington, ON and Toronto, ON. Gaspari has seen his share of professional golf tournaments as his company is and elite ticket and hospitality provider for many of the world's top sporting events including The British Open, the Masters Tournament, The Super Bowl, and Formula One Racing.
Gaspari adds, “He is talented and everyone goes through highs and lows. Woods is someone that will always persevere and is a winner.”
Today, Woods, who is gearing up to play in the 143 British Open, states: “I came here and just felt at peace… I really, really played well. On Sunday I really felt calm out there. It was surreal at the time. I've had a few moments like that in majors where I've felt that way on a Sunday.”
He adds, “I wouldn't necessarily say it was every day but certainly on Sunday I really felt that my dad was with me on that one round. I said it back then that it was like having my 15th club."
Woods is at peace again this week, his mind cleared of doubt following back surgery March 31 for a pinched nerve.
Leading up to the surgery Woods could barely get out of bed, couldn't play with his two children and wondered about the future of his livelihood.
But Woods said he has gotten stronger and his swing faster with each passing week, and he secured confidence when he made his return to the PGA Tour three weeks ago at the Quicken Loans Invitational, where, despite missing the cut, he suffered no setbacks.
Phil Mickelson returns Claret Jug with hopes of reclaiming it
Despite playing just two competitive rounds in four months and playing in his first major of the season, his intent is clear this week – to win.
“Once I started getting stronger, more stable, I could work on my explosiveness, and start getting my speed back. Each and every week I've gotten stronger and faster,” says Woods. “Probably not quite at the level that I think I can be at as far as my explosion through the golf ball, but I'm pretty, pretty darn close.”
He won't lose the Open for a lack of trying.
The former world No. 1 and winner of 14 majors arrived five days ahead of Thursday's opening tee shot and played varying lengths of practice rounds on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. As well, he got in a workout at a local fire station on Monday.
“I've played three practice rounds now and have had three different winds. … That's awfully nice because I've had to hit completely different clubs off a lot of these tee shots because the winds have been so different," Woods said. "I came here a day earlier than I normally would. To have an extra day in there, as well as possibly taking a day off, if need be. And it worked out.”