Woods is still only 17 months removed from the infamous car crash that nearly cost him his right leg and has only featured twice since, making the cut at both The Masters and PGA Championship before withdrawing from the latter after three rounds due to his injuries.
Video: Things you didn't know about The Open
He was forced to skip the US Open in order to make sure he was fit enough to compete in the Home of Golf at what he describes as his "favourite course in the world," but has already been spotted limping and grimacing during a practice round with Thomas on Sunday morning.
However, write him off at your peril is the message the PGA champion has for those concerned about the three-time Open winner's ability to add to his roll of honour this week.
"His swing still looks as good as ever," Thomas told The Guardian. "Would I be surprised if he challenged this week? No. I’ve learned better than to challenge anything about him."
It would be a fascinating storyline should the duo find themselves battling it out for the Claret Jug come Sunday. Thomas is one of the strong favourites but has yet to experience a St Andrews Open, and added it has been harder than usual to get information out of his 15-time Major champion confidant.
On the amount of advice Tiger has given, he said: "A little bit. I understand he is going to withhold some information but I’m trying to get as much out of him as I can because he has done pretty well around this place."
Thomas was a surprise casualty at last week's Scottish Open, missing the cut in testing conditions at the Renaissance Club. However, he believes that has been a blessing in disguise, with the famous St Andrews layout making an immediate impression on the 29-year-old.
"I love it here, it’s incredible. It’s unique. It is the most true links Open I have ever played. It’s such a fun place. I’ve never had such a productive missed cut as at the Scottish Open on Friday because it’s been so nice to come out here and have two days of preparation."
"The fairways are already firm. If the greens end up getting baked and become firm like the fairways, with where they could place these pins you aren’t going to be able to get very close to them. It’s going to take a lot of discipline, patience and shot-making."
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A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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