He showed he means business, however, by flying in five days before the Championship begins, just like he did eight years ago, in fact. Woods was welcomed by Andy Cross, who was the Hoylake captain in 2006 and who had handed him his third Claret Jug at the awards ceremony.
At 3.40pm, after a brief chat, Woods set out on to the links to begin his preparations for the 143rd Open, playing 12 holes in the drizzle in the company of his fellow American Patrick Reed.
Woods certainly sounded confident afterwards. “The little baby steps worked. We were very diligent about what I was doing [in his rehab]. I can do whatever I want now,” he said. “Before I had the procedure, I couldn’t do anything. This is how I used to feel. I had been playing with [the back injury] for a while and I had my good weeks and bad weeks. Now they are all good. I’ve got my speed back and I’m starting to hit the ball out there again.”