Friday, July 17, 2009
Mistake-prone Woods misses cut by 1
By Bob Harig ESPN.com
Tiger Woods reacts during the second round of the British Open at Turnberry Country Club.
TURNBERRY, Scotland -- For the first time in three years and the second in a major championship as a pro, Tiger Woods will not compete on the weekend.
The world's No. 1 player missed the cut Friday at the British Open, shooting a 4-over 74 at Turnberry that had him headed back home to Florida on the same day that 59-year-old Tom Watson tied for the 36-hole lead.
"Well, obviously it's disappointing, there's no doubt," said Woods, whose total of 5-over 145 missed the cut by a stroke. "I was playing well coming in, and today, unfortunately, I just didn't play certain holes well. I was playing the first seven holes dead into the wind. I was playing those holes well; I was 1-under par and just right there. And then unfortunately three holes right in a row and I was 4-over par."
It is the first time Woods has missed a cut since the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where he was playing for the first time since the death of his father, Earl, in May of that year.
Depending on how you view the numbers, it was either the fifth or sixth missed cut of Woods' PGA Tour career.
His only true missed cuts before Friday came at the 1997 Canadian Open, the 2005 Byron Nelson Championship, the 2005 Funai Championship and the 2006 U.S. Open.
Woods holds the PGA Tour record of 142 consecutive cuts made from the 1998 Buick Invitational until the 2005 Nelson. That streak began after the '98 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, from which he withdrew when the final round of the event had to be rescheduled for six months later because of weather. While he technically did not miss the cut, the WD is a gray area.
None of that was of any concern to Woods on Friday after he made two double-bogeys on the back nine at Turnberry.
Woods began the day 7 strokes out of the lead and did not tee off until after 2 p.m. local time, when the tournament lead of 5-under had been established by Steve Marino. A birdie at the seventh hole got Woods to even par for the tournament, and with players dropping back in poor conditions, Woods seemed to be marking his time.
But Woods followed with bogeys at the ninth and 10th holes, a double at the 10th, a bogey at the 12th and another double at the 13th. He played a six-hole stretch in 7 over par, a first for Woods as a pro. Birdies at the 16th and 17th holes were too little, too late.
This will be the first time in two years -- a span of 19 official stroke-play events -- that Woods will not finish among the top 10 on the PGA Tour. The last time he failed to do so was at the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie. During that stretch, Woods has 10 stroke-play victories and two majors.
British Open Live Blog
Jason Sobel, our live golf blogger extraordinaire, opines on all things British Open from Turnberry, Scotland. Read it here.
• Jason Sobel's Live Blog
"That is surprising," said Watson, a five-time Open champion, who shot 70 and is tied for the lead with first-time Open participant Steve Marino. "It seems like [Tiger's] been playing awfully well this year.
"Links golf I've played it when I'm not playing very well, and it's a struggle. You add a little wind to it like we had today, and it's more of a struggle. How do you get the ball in play? And when you're not very confident about where you're hitting it and you start hitting it sideways a few times, then it gets to you.
"I don't care how good you are -- it gets to you."
There was little indication, however, that Woods would founder like this. Since returning from knee surgery in February, he had played nine tournaments, winning three of them and finishing among the top 10 in all eight stroke-play events.
After winning the Memorial Tournament in early June, Woods tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, missing a playoff by four strokes. He then won his own AT&T National two weeks ago.
Although Woods had never seen Turnberry before this week, he figured to handle it the way he did Hoylake in 2006 -- by wearing out the fairways with long irons and fairway woods.
Yet Woods managed to hit just 15 of 28 fairways and 21 of 36 greens in two days.
"I was playing well for the first seven holes," Woods said. "I was hitting good shot after good shot. And from eight through probably 11 or 12, I was struggling there for a little bit. You've got to play those holes either even par, 1-over par, sometimes under par, and I went the other way. I had some high numbers, and it cost me a chance on the weekend."
Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com.