NEW YORK: Tiger Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship on Saturday, his third straight missed cut in a major reinforcing the notion that the 14-time major champion’s star is on the wane.
Woods had already missed back-to-back cuts in grand slam events for the first time in his career when he flopped at the US and British Opens.
“It’s frustrating to miss any cuts because any time you miss a cut, you don’t have a chance to win the event,” said Woods, who has slumped to 278th in the world.
“Even if you’re way out of it we saw Paul Lawrie come back from 10 shots in one day,” he recalled of the Scot’s stunning 1999 British Open triumph.
“But you have to give yourself that opportunity, and I haven’t given myself that opportunity in the last few majors,” added Woods, whose pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major titles has remained stalled since his 2008 US Open win.
Woods, one of 57 players who had to complete the second round on Saturday because of a late thunderstorm the day before, carded a one-over par 73 for a four-over total of 148 two strokes outside the cut and 15 off the 36-hole lead of Australian journeyman Matt Jones.
“Well, I hit it good enough to be where I needed to be, but I putted awful,” said Woods, who had five holes remaining when play resumed and played them even with a bogey and a birdie.
“I finally figured something out today on the putting green, but the damage had already been done,” added Woods, who was in danger of missing the cut after his three-over 75 in the opening round.
The early exit at a championship he has won four times was just the latest disappointment in a miserable season for the 39-year-old superstar.
He has missed the cut in four of 10 starts and shot an 82 in Phoenix and an 85 at the Memorial for his worst pro rounds, even taking a break from competition early in the year to try to sort out his game.
His tie for 17th at the Masters remains the brightest spot in his season, and Woods says he has yet to get all aspects of his game firing at once.
“Came back at Augusta and had my short game back. Then I started getting my ball striking in order, but then I lost my putting,” he lamented.
“I hit too many balls and neglected my chipping, because I thought that was sound again. I just need to do both at the same time. I just haven’t done that. I haven’t put together ball striking and putting. It’s been one or the other.”
Woods acknowledged this week he never thought it would take so long to put things together after his 2014 back surgery was followed by swing changes that have been so slow to pay off.
But Woods insists his confidence is growing as he feels his game returning.
“That’s the fun part,” he said. “I’m hitting shots and able to hit shots that I haven’t been able to hit in years and that’s nice again. And to have the control that I need to have going forward. I just need to get more consistent in tournament golf.”
Woods had indicated that without a solid showing here to boost his bid to qualify for the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, his US season was likely over.
Although he didn’t rule out a start in the US PGA Tour’s Wyndham Cup, he sounded Saturday as if he was already turning his attention overseas.
“I guess (my) PGA Tour season may be coming to a close, but I’ve still got plenty of golf to play around the world,” he said.
And in the more immediate future?
“I’m going to go home and watch the leaders tee off and play,” he said. “Actually I’ll go to my sports bar, how about that?”