Tiger Woods waves to fans as he finishes the U.S. Open. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods never was able to gain much traction at the U.S. Open and seemed poised for a truly dismal Sunday after starting with bogeys on four of his first six holes. But he played his final 12 holes at 6 under par, rallying into a tie for 21st, and his 69 was his best final round at the U.S. Open in 10 years. It was a better showing than his missed cut at the PGA Championship, obviously, but still a far cry from his Masters championship and another sign that Woods isn’t going to dominate the sport as he did earlier this century.

He’s seemingly not going to be playing as often, either.

“I think I’m going to take a little bit of time off and enjoy some family time,” Woods told reporters after his round on Sunday.

He was asked to clarify whether that means he’ll play again before the British Open at Royal Portrush next month.

“I’ll play at home, yeah,” he joked.

That doesn’t sound promising for any of the tournaments between now and then. There are two new ones on the schedule, including one at the end of this month in Detroit that is sponsored by Quicken Loans, which supported Woods’s tournament in the D.C. area from 2014 to 2018. The other new event, the 3M Open, starts July 4 in suburban Minneapolis.

Woods is free to play in as many or as few tournaments as he wants; as a lifetime member of the PGA Tour — in other words, a player with at least 20 career victories — he’s exempt from the rule that requires golfers who take part in fewer than 25 tournaments per season to play in at least one event they have not played in the past four years. Woods didn’t play in any tournaments between his Masters win and the PGA Championship; the rust showed with a missed cut, his only one this season. He played in one tournament between the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open, finishing in a tie for ninth at the Memorial.

According to ESPN’s Bob Harig, Woods will spend some of the time between majors on vacation with his kids and his mother, returning to his Florida home for 10 days to two weeks of prep for the British Open — which he has won three times, most recently in 2006. Last year, after playing in one tournament between the U.S. Open and British Open, he tied for sixth at Carnoustie.

“It’s just trying to wind down from the championship as well as [get in the gym] and getting back into it,” Woods said. “And I know that Florida will not be the same temperature as Northern Ireland. I’m not going to be practicing with any sweaters at home, but it will be nice to get to Portrush and get with it again.”

Thanks to the PGA Tour’s condensed schedule this year, things really pick up after the British Open, with the WGC-St. Jude Invitational in Memphis immediately following it and then the three FedEx Cup playoff events to end August. Woods played in the equivalent WGC event last year, when it was held two weeks after the British Open. Should he do so again this year, we could see him on the course five times in six weeks.

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