US Open’s return to Winged Foot brings sad memories to Tiger Woods

A shock Geoff Ogilvy victory. Disasters at the 72nd hole for Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie. When the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot is the subject for discussion, Tiger Woods isn’t a typical point of reference. Which is unusual in golf context of that era.

There is a clear mitigating circumstance. Back-to-back rounds of 76 meant Woods missed the cut in New York. Far more significant was the backdrop; it was his first major appearance since the passing of his father.

“I was not prepared to play and still dealing with the death of my dad,” the 44-year-old recalled. Woods won the Open Championship at Hoylake the following month, amid moving scenes which depicted the depth of his emotions. This week’s return of the US Open to Winged Foot, naturally, has caused him to glance back 14 years.

“When I didn’t win the Masters that year, that was really tough to take because that was the last event my dad was ever going to watch me play,” Woods said. “He passed not too long after that and quite frankly, when I got ready for this event, I didn’t really put in the time. I didn’t really put in the practice and consequently missed the cut pretty easily.

“After that I was able to do some practising. I did some, probably some pretty good grieving after this championship. I played well at the Western Open and then went on to really play well at the British.”

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