By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- Bears go into hibernation and now a Tiger will, too. Only this time it won’t be by choice.
Tiger Woods missed the cut in a major championship for just the third time as a professional and fourth time overall Friday, shooting a 3-over-par 73 to finish his week 10 over.
His next stop will be Jupiter (Florida, that is) after he hit some otherworldly shots at Atlanta Athletic Club, where he arrived 129th in the FedExCup standings and left out of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup following five double bogeys over two days.
That, by the way, was the first time the two-time FedExCup champion has put up such ghastly numbers.
It also means it will be the last time we will see him until November when he is scheduled to play in the Australian Open and possibly The Presidents Cup -- should captain Fred Couples select him.
Woods needs the tournament reps, but he needs first to go back to the range to do the work he’s been unable to do because of his health or lack thereof after a knee and Achilles injury sidelined the 14-time major champion for three months.
“I showed signs that I can hit the ball exactly how I know I can,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, I just didn’t do it enough times.”
Time is exactly what Woods needs now, maybe now more than ever, to do the things Sean Foley has tried to impart but has been unable to because of Woods’ battered body and mind.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but Foley has his work cut out with a soon-to-be 36-year-old Tiger.
“Now I have nothing to do but work on my game,” said Woods, a four-time winner of the PGA Championship who missed the cut in the event for the first time in his career. “That’s going to be good.”
Woods was anything but good this week, except for maybe his distance off the tee.
“I’m hitting the ball farther,” he said.
Farther into the woods maybe. That’s what Woods did on the par-5 12th Friday, for example, when he hit a low snap hook with a fairway wood on his way to one of those five double bogeys.
Woods said the week was a step backwards in that he didn’t make the cut and therefore didn’t contend in the tournament.
Well, it wasn’t a step forward, either, so it could only be backwards. If you’re not doing one, you’re doing the other.
Earlier this year, Woods returned too soon from the injuries he sustained at the Masters only to pull out of THE PLAYERS Championship following just nine holes.
Nothing was right then and not much is better now. But maybe all this in a weird way will do Woods some good.
He can go back to spending all his waking hours working on his game -- driving, ball-striking, chipping, putting -- and get away from the spotlight, scrutiny and everything else that goes with being him out here.
Besides, half the reason he put his face on golf’s Mount Rushmore was because he outworked everybody else.
Woods is ultracompetitive, like all the great ones always are, and he came to the PGA Championship with the same expectations he’s always had.
“A ‘W’,” Woods said. “A nice ‘W.’”
Instead, he left with another set of letters next to his name: MC.
And in the long term, it might just do him some good.