T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Woods shoots 75 in final round of Open Championship
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Sunday, July 20, 2014 | 8:44 a.m.
Making his first start in a major championship since the 2013 PGA Championship this week at the Open Championship after having recovered from back surgery, Tiger Woods got off to a promising start with a 3-under 69 Thursday.
That's as good as it would get at Royal Liverpool for the 14-time major champion who won at this links course in the 2006 Open.
For the remainder of the week, Woods just could not get any momentum going. He shot a 5-over 77 in Round 2, a 1-over 73 in Round 3 and closed things out Sunday -- long before the leaders hit the first tee -- with a 3-over 75 to finish at 6-over, 294.
That mark was a massive 21 shots behind 54-hole leader Rory McIlroy.
Woods remains winless in major championships since his playoff victory at the 2008 U.S. Open, a span that covers 25 majors. He has participated in 19 of those, missing six due to injury.
While Woods would be the first to admit that making a cut shouldn't be classified as a "highlight" of the week, the fashion in which he did so on Friday should be recognized as such.
Woods was well within the cutline as he stepped to the 17th tee on Friday, but lost his tee shot out of bounds to the right and went on to make a crushing triple-bogey 7 that put him at 3 over for the tournament and one shot outside of the cutline.
Needing a birdie at the par-5 18th, Woods delivered. But it wasn't easy.
He smashed a drive down the center of the fairway and was just right of the green in two shots, but was faced with a tricky up and down. His chip shot rolled out six feet past the hole and he proceeded to knock in the putt for birdie that allowed him to advance to the weekend at 2 over.
It also helped Woods avoid missing the cut in consecutive starts for the first time in his career. He wasn't around for the weekend in his first start back from injury at Congressional a few weeks ago in the Quicken Loans National.
Where does Woods go from here? His next start will come in two weeks at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a place where he's experienced an abundance of success and returns as the defending champion.
Then it's on to Valhalla for the PGA Championship -- a venue where he won the 2000 PGA Championship.
If Woods doesn't play exceptionally well in those two events, there's a good chance he'll miss out on the FedExCup Playoffs. At this point, if there's any chance he'll be a member of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, Woods will need to rely on Captain Tom Watson for a Captain's Pick.
Would Watson give Woods the nod with the very real possibility that he'll now only play in two tournaments between now and the end of September when the biennial matches tee off?