PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Tiger Woods hopped straight off the plane to get his first-ever look at Royal Portrush, as The Open returns to the Irish coast for the first time in 68 years.
Woods has not played competitively since the U.S. Open, and he has spent much of his time since Pebble Beach vacationing with his family in Thailand. But now it’s back to work, as he looks to add a second major title this year and to lift the claret jug for the first time since 2006.
Woods boarded a seven-and-a-half-hour flight from Florida on Saturday night, landing in Northern Ireland on Sunday morning. He was on the first tee less than two hours later, playing a full 18-hole practice round alongside former Ryder Cup partner Patrick Reed.
Wearing a light gray sweater on a sunny day as temperatures pushed 70 degrees, Woods appeared sluggish and somewhat stiff at times while shaking off the rust, a likely side-effect from an intercontinental commute. He focused much of his practice on and around the undulating greens at Portrush, attempting chip and pitch shots with multiple clubs to better understand how the ball will react along the ground.
His arrival continued a recent trend of seeing major venues on the Sunday prior to tournament week. Rather than a quick nine-hole session or a walk with wedge and putter in hand like at Augusta National, Woods had all 14 clubs with him this time while playing the Dunluce Links for the very first time.
Woods is scheduled to talk to media members Tuesday at 6 a.m. ET.