Tiger Woods did little to allay fears he will be underprepared for the Open Championship after revealing how he has spent his time since his last competitive start in the US Open a month ago.
After finishing joint 21st at Pebble Beach, Woods embarked on a two-week holiday in Thailand with mother Kultida and his two children – Sam, 12 and Charlie, 10.
The 43-year-old said his mother, who is from Thailand, wanted her grandchildren to see her homeland and that he did not touch his clubs before returning to the United States on July 2.
“We had the greatest time,” Woods told reporters after a practice round at Royal Portrush on Sunday. “Sam’s birthday was over there. We rode elephants, went on a safari, visited the islands.
“They understand the culture there a little bit more, the things they didn’t really know about. It was pretty cool for them to experience that at such a young age.
“It was an experience, especially since my mom’s health is diminishing and we’re not sure how many times she can do this.”
Two-time champion Padraig Harrington said last week that anyone “serious” about winning the Open should have played at least once in the fortnight beforehand, but Woods insisted his lack of competitive golf would not be a problem.
The 15-time major winner has played just 10 tournament rounds since his emotional victory at Augusta National in April but added: “The break is always great for my golf, especially now.
“I told you guys last year I wouldn’t be playing as much this year, and it’s going to turn out that way.”
Woods flew overnight to Northern Ireland and within a few hours of arriving was out on the course alongside Ryder Cup partner Patrick Reed.
Royal Portrush is hosting the Open for the second time and the first since Max Faulkner lifted the Claret Jug in 1951.