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Tiger Woods took the acclaim of the galleries as he walked over the Swilcan Bridge for what could be the final time.

Doffing his cap to the thousands lining the 18th fairway at the Home of Golf, for a split second he appeared to pause, visibly emotional.

This was an ovation afforded to very few golfers, even true greats of the game. But then very few golfers have had such a seismic impact on the game as Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods.

It wasn’t exactly the way he’d have wanted it to go. Woods came to St Andrews fully intending to compete. But he was left to rue a dismal Thursday which all but ended his hopes of making the weekend.

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His performance on the 18th, too, encapsulated his week. Having missed the green to the left, he chipped it close but then uncharacteristically missed the short birdie putt.

But this was less about the tournament itself and more about affording the great man the ovation he has earned, should this indeed be his final Old Course Open.

Afterwards, although he is determined to return to these shores, he admitted he is unsure whether he will be fit enough for another visit to the Old Grey Toon.

After all, with the next Old Course Open slated for 2030, he will be in his 50s – without taking into consideration his battered, bruised body.

“I feel like I’ll be around to play more Opens but I don’t know if I’ll be around when it comes back here,” he said.

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“So the ovation on 18, it got to me.

“I understand what Jack and Arnold had gone through in the past. I was kind of feeling that way there at the end. And just the collective warmth and understanding. They understand what golf’s all about and what it takes to be an Open champion. 

“I’ve been lucky enough and fortunate enough to have won this twice here. And it felt very emotional, just because I just don’t know what my health is going to be like.”

We don’t yet know how many more Claret Jugs Woods will contest.

However, if this is to be goodbye, it was a fitting send-off for the world’s most iconic golfer on its most iconic course at the 150th playing of the oldest major.

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