A six-hole stretch he played in 7 over wrecked Tiger Woods' trip to Turnberry. (Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)
Too many 'mistakes' mean Woods heading home early
Tiger Woods rallied with two late birdies Friday, but it just wasn't enough. Woods finished up 36 holes at 5-over 145, and missed the cut in a major for only the second time as a professional.
By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer
TURNBERRY, Scotland -- For just the second time in his professional career, Tiger Woods will not be around for the weekend in a major championship.
Woods shot a 4-over 74 in the second round of the 138th Open Championship at Turnberry on Friday and at 5 over for the week, he will miss the cut. It was the 13th missed cut in Woods’ illustrious career (just his fifth as a professional), which covers 246 starts on the PGA TOUR and his first in a major since the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Woods’ first start after the death of his father, Earl.
“I just made mistakes,” Woods said. “And obviously you can't make mistakes and expect to not only make the cut but also try and win a championship. You have to play clean rounds of golf, and I didn't. I made my share of mistakes out there today and didn't play a very clean round.”
The 74 in the second round is far from Woods’ worst performance in an Open Championship. He shot an 81 in the third round at Muirfield in 2002; a 78 in the final round at St. Andrews in 1995; a 77 in the third round at Royal Birkdale in 1998 and a 75 in the first round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 1996.
Woods’ early departure was a surprise to everyone, especially the man who has been the surprise of the week thus far -- 59-year-old, 36-hole co-leader Tom Watson, who completed two rounds 10 shots better than Woods at 5 under.
“Well, that is surprising,” said Watson, a five-time Open Champion, of Woods. “It seems like he's been playing awfully well this year. Links golf is … 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.”
Through seven holes in difficult conditions on Friday, Woods seemed to be cruising along. He was 1 under for the day, but ran into trouble when he played the next six holes in 7 over -- a stretch that included crushing double bogeys on Nos. 10 and 13.
On No. 10, Woods’ tee shot was lost in the right rough and he was forced to play his provisional tee shot. It took three strokes to get in from there for the double-bogey 6 on the par 4.
At the par-4 13th hole, Woods sent an approach shot sailing through the green and the ball rolled down into a collection area. On the chip shot back up to the green, Woods came up just short and the ball rolled back down the knoll and about 10 yards right of where he started. Woods failed to get up and down from there.
“I was 1 under par after seven holes and just right there in the championship and had a few tough holes right in a row and couldn't get it back,” he said.
Interestingly, it was the second time in as many majors that Woods has recorded two double bogeys in one round. In the first round of the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, he made double bogey on Nos. 5 and 15.
Ever the competitor, Woods did mount a rally with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17, but it proved to be too little, too late for the 14-time major champion.
“I figured starting at 14 I was probably going to have to birdie the last four is what I thought, and obviously I didn't do that,” Woods said. “I birdied two of the last four, and I think that's not going to be enough.”
Woods, who missed the 2008 Open Championship and PGA Championship while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, is now 0-for-3 in majors since returning. He tied for sixth at both the Masters and the U.S. Open this year.
“I just haven't put together all four rounds, and you have to play clean in order to win a major championship,” Woods reiterated. “I haven't done that. You have to do that in order to win majors, and that's what I've done before on all my major wins. You have to play clean rounds and I just didn't do it.”
In case anyone is wondering what’s next for the world’s No. 1 player, wonder no more.
“Go home, get something to eat,” he said. “I'm really hungry right now.”