“Well, I didn’t play the first and second hole very well,” Tiger Woods said after missing the cut. “I was kind of hanging in there until, unfortunately, the first and second hole kind of derailed it.”
By Michael Donovan
The hype that Tiger Woods is back suffered a humiliating reality check yesterday at the U. S. Open.
Woods has been both remarkable and forgettable this year.
And yesterday was the latter.
For every three things he’s doing right, one thing proves to be his downfall, whether it be his driver, putter or iron play.
Woods stood at 10-over par after rounds of 78-72 in the national championship he’s won three times and missed the cut for just the eighth time in a major.
Over 36 holes, he made just five birdies, six bogeys, three double bogeys and one triple bogey.
After the round, Woods looked as agitated as he has all year and it’s safe to say he’s losing patience with the shortest club in his bag. He needed 58 putts to complete 36 holes. Lately, it’s been the main reason Woods has only shown flashes of his ability from yesteryear. He’s been consistently erratic this year and the first hole basically summed up his week.
In the first round, he began this championship by splitting the fairway with an iron off the tee only to then fly the green with his approach, take three more shots just to reach the green and then used his putter twice to card a 7. From the middle of the fairway, 135 yards away. That’s wedge territory, folks, where you take dead aim and fire away.
Then, after morning showers rinsed him in Friday’s second round, Woods repeated his dismal showing at the first. After starting on the 10th and staying in touch with the cutline, Woods split the fairway again with an iron but still made double-bogey 6. He stuck his club in the ground and came up short with his approach, and then needed four more shots for a double-bogey 6. From the middle of the fairway, 150 yards away. That’s 9-iron territory, folks, where you take dead aim and fire away.
“Well, I didn’t play the first and second hole very well,” Woods deadpanned after the round. “I was kind of hanging in there until, unfortunately, the first and second hole kind of derailed it.”
Yes, the second hole, a monster of a par-3 that can stretch to 260 yards. Woods bogeyed the hole twice this week.
“I’m not very happy the way I played and the way I putted,” Woods said. “I’m 10-over par. So I don’t know that you can be too happy and too excited about 10-over par.”
Woods said he put himself behind the 8-ball early in his rounds. He did the same halfway through his rounds, too. And late in his first round. He had momentum killers, especially the result of his putter. In the first round, he four-putted from 40 feet on the 13th, turning a possible birdie into a double bogey with his first four-putt since 2010.
From tee to green, Woods has been superb, so just imagine how bad he’d be if he was spraying the ball. Still, Woods didn’t hit the ball close enough to give himself better looks for birdie on the greens.
But his worst work came on the greens. Considering all the big putts he’s made in winning 79 PGA Tour titles and 14 majors, Woods is the best putter of his generation, so you figure he’ll figure it out. For now, he’ll do so without any help, relying on reps, he said, to get him out of his putting abyss in time for his next start, in two weeks, in the National north of the nation’s capital.
“Obviously, I’d like to roll it better than I’ve been,” Woods said. “I’m hitting it just fine. I just have not made any putts, and then, importantly, I haven’t made those key ones to keep the momentum going, or if I have any positive momentum, I miss a putt and derail it.
“I just haven’t made those key putts in the last few events.”