Tiger Woods misses PGA cut
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- He blasted yet another shot out of a bunker, and this time the sand blew back in his face, his arms and neck covered with grit, his golf ball trickling into the water on the other side of the green.
As Tiger Woods toweled off in the searing heat at the 11th hole Friday afternoon, he might as well have called ahead to have the jet fueled and waiting.
Tiger career PGA Tour missed cuts
|2010||Wells Fargo Championship|
|2005||FUNAI Classic -- Disney|
|2005||Byron Nelson Championship|
|1997||Bell Canadian Open|
A third missed cut in a major championship -- and first in his 14th PGA Championship -- was inevitable as Woods fell too far behind the number necessary to play on the weekend at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Woods shot 3-over 73 and added to his opening-round 77 his total of 150, 10-over par, missing the cut by six strokes.
It was just the seventh time in 260 starts as a pro on the PGA Tour that Woods failed to advance after the 36-hole cut. And it was just his third missed cut as a pro in a major championship, the others coming at the 2006 U.S. Open and 2009 British Open.
After injury, there has now been insult, Woods' game now at an eerily poor level that could be expected given all the time he's been away this year. But it was jarring nonetheless.
"I think I was in, what, 20 bunkers in two days? And had four or five water balls," Woods said. "So that's not going to add up to a very good score. I hit the ball a lot better. I putted well the last two days and really felt great but I just never got to the green soon enough."
Unclear is what comes next for the 14-time major champion.
Woods, 35, needed to make the cut at the PGA Championship not only to have a chance at contending for his first tournament title in nearly two years but also to extend his season on the PGA Tour. He did not commit to next week's Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., which means he will be ineligible for any of the four-tournament FedEx Cup playoff events that begin in two weeks.
Any hope of advancing to the weekend vaporized in the sauna that has enveloped the PGA Championship when Woods double-bogeyed the 11th and then again at the 12th -- his fifth double in two days.
"I think it's a step back in the sense that I didn't make the cut and I'm not contending in the tournament," Woods said.
"But it's a giant leap forward in the fact that I played two straight weeks, healthy. That's great for our practice sessions coming up. We are going to now be able to work and get after it, something I haven't been able to do. And I thought I could come in here and play the last couple of weeks and it get it done somehow, but I need some work," he said.
As Woods suggested, he clearly needs more time on his swing, which has been in transition for the past year under teacher Sean Foley, who only began seeing his client again two weeks ago. That came at some point after Woods got back to work following his fourth-month absence due to knee and Achilles injuries suffered at the Masters.
Ranked 30th in the world and falling, Woods seemed encouraged after a first-round 68 at last week's Bridgestone Invitational, where he said his power had returned.
But any manner of consistency was missing here and Woods said after Thursday's 77 that he did not trust the changes he has been making, although he backed Foley and what they have been doing together.
"Absolutely," Woods said. "I have way more power now. Hitting the ball much further. So it's just a matter of doing the work. I need to go out there and spend hours getting it done."
To do that, Woods has suggested he needs to play, that he needs more reps. But where? Woods will be unable to play any of the playoff events that run through September. The tour then has four Fall Series events, two of which he has won -- tournaments at Las Vegas and Disney World. But he hasn't played the Vegas event since 1997 and hasn't been back to Disney since 2005.
How about the European Tour? Scotland, the Netherlands and Switzerland are among several choices. Without doing any of that, he'd be looking at a November trip to Asia perhaps. Unless the tournament is allowed to give some sort of exemption -- not part of its listed criteria -- the HSBC Champions, a World Golf Championship, is out because Woods is not eligible.
He's scheduled to play the Nov. 11-14 Australian Open. The following week is the Presidents Cup in Melbourne; U.S. captain Fred Couples has said he'd pick Woods if healthy.
The Chevron World Challenge, which Woods' foundation runs, could be his next appearance in the United States in early December.
"We have to sit down and talk about it," Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said about the possibility of adding tournaments. "We certainly didn't contemplate this."
Woods was twice asked about his schedule, and when it was mentioned that his next scheduled tournament is in November, he said: "Correct. That's what it's going to be. Yeah, I've got some time off again." Later he said he "might" consider adding tournaments but didn't sound convincing.
"As of right now, (the Aussie Open) is the only commitment that I have," he said.
He almost sounded glad that he would have some time to work with Foley at his new home in Jupiter, Fla. Foley's wife, Kate, is expecting a child, "so he's going to be at home," Woods said. "He's not going to be traveling that much and I'll be down in Jupiter, so we'll be able to do some work."
In order to make the cut at the PGA, Woods needed to shoot 3-under 67. And when he made the turn having birdied the eighth and ninth holes to get back to even par for the day, the possibility existed -- he'd need to shoot 3 under on the back nine.
But that bout with the sand and water at the 11th ended any hope. It was clear then Woods' tournament was over.
The next tournament is not so clear.
Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com.
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2011 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
2011 champion: Keegan Bradley
Course: Atlanta Athletic Club
Where: Johns Creek, Ga.
Yardage, par: 7,467 yards, par-70
Past PGA champions: Complete list