Tiger Woods admitted he never imagined being in contention in consecutive majors after threatening to pull off one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time in the US PGA Championship.
Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery in April last year and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence the following month when he was found asleep at the wheel of his car.
The 42-year-old, who had five prescription drugs in his system, later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and will spend a year on probation and undergo a diversion programme.
Woods only returned to competitive golf in November but held a one-shot lead with eight holes to play in the Open at Carnoustie and finished just two behind Brooks Koepka after a thrilling final round of 64 at Bellerive Country Club.
“I was in contention in the last two majors and would never have foreseen that a year ago and I’m just so thankful to be here,” Woods said.
“I didn’t know what my schedule would be. I didn’t know how many tournaments I would play this year, or if I would even play. So each tournament brought about its own challenges.
“At the beginning of the year if you would say I would have a legit chance to win the last two major championships, I’d say with what swing? I didn’t have a swing at the time. I had no speed. My putting was OK but God, I hadn’t played in two years. So it’s been a hell of a process for sure.”
Woods began the final round four shots behind Koepka and closed to within a shot three times, but Koepka crucially birdied the 15th and 16th before a wayward drive on the par-five 17th cost Woods the chance of a birdie himself.
“I was pretty ticked at the British Open,” Woods added. “I had the lead there. This one I never quite got to the lead. I was always trailing. I had to keep making birdies. I had to go get it and I tried.
“The drive on 17… I didn’t drive it good all day. I was struggling with my golf swing. I warmed up hitting it left, I was hitting it right. So I knew this was going to be a struggle to try and piece together around and I did.”