July 18, 2015

Tiger misses second straight major cut at Open Championship

Tiger Woods will not return to the United States with his fourth Claret Jug. That was determined Saturday during a long, blustery second round on the Old Course at St. Andrews in the 144th Open Championship.

When play was suspended due to darkness Friday night, Woods had a birdie putt on the par-4 12th green. He returned at 7 a.m. local time on Saturday with playing partners Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen and two-putted, then made it to the 13th green, when gusts of 40 miles per hour made conditions unplayable and forced officials to suspend play due to high winds.

A 10-hour-and-28-minute delay ensued before R&A officials resumed play. Conditions remained challenging, but Tiger finished with a 3-over-par 75. Coupled with a first-round 76, he posted a disappointing 36-hole score of 7-over 151 and missed the cut, tying for 147th. It marked the first time in his pro career he has failed to qualify for the final two rounds in consecutive majors.

Dustin Johnson is the 36-hole leader at 10-under 134. The third round will be played Sunday and the final round Monday for the first time since 1988, when it was held at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

“I felt like I was playing well enough to win this event,” said Woods, a two-time Open champion at St. Andrews. “On the very first hole on the first day, I fat a sand wedge into the water. I fatted my 3-iron off the tee, then I fatted my 8-iron into the green on [No.] 2, and drove it into a divot on [No.] 4. It was just one thing after another.”

While the testy conditions were certainly a factor, Tiger never got untracked, making only three birdies all week. He failed to birdie a single hole on the front nine.

“That’s not very good,” Woods said. “The golf course wasn’t playing that hard. I just didn’t get much out of any of the two rounds.”

After the par at 12, Tiger carded three straight bogeys.

“I figured I had to birdie every hole coming in to at least give myself a chance and, if not, try and drive 18 and make a two somehow,” he said.

Woods followed with a nice birdie at the par-4 16th, nestling his second shot close to the pin. He made a terrific par at the Road Hole, the 483-yard, par-4 17th, where his second shot from the left rough rolled into the deep, front-left bunker. Tiger blasted to four feet and made the putt.

At the downwind 339-yard, par-4 18th, Woods hit a good drive just short of the green, rolled his eagle attempt about six feet past the cup and missed coming back to settle for a par.

“I’m just not scoring,” said an admittedly frustrated Tiger. “Every opportunity I have to make a key putt or hit an iron shot in there stiff with a short iron and get some momentum going. I haven’t done that.”

Woods came into the championship having played a bogey-free final round at the Greenbrier Classic, where he recorded three rounds in the 60s and led the field in proximity to the hole.

Even after the disappointing performance, the Old Course remains his favorite. He hopes to return to St. Andrews for the next Open, likely in 2020 or 2021, the latter the 150th playing of the championship.

“I’ll probably have less hair then,” said Woods. “And hopefully a little better game.”

Tiger will return to competition in two weeks when he hosts the Quicken Loans National at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. Proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.