x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Woods is lost again as he misses the cut

The golfing great bows out of the PGA Championship half way to mark his return from injury layoff.

Tiger Woods will now only play in November meaning another rest after a three-month layoff.
Tiger Woods will now only play in November meaning another rest after a three-month layoff.

ATLANTA // Tiger Woods trudged toward the 18th green, his head down after one last shot plopped into the water.

The gallery at Atlanta Athletic Club mustered some polite - almost sympathetic - applause. It was a far cry from the roar he has heard so many times, but hardly the only thing that's changed in his world.

Once identified by either his No 1 ranking or his 14 major titles, Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship with a performance that was even more shocking because of the numbers he compiled. He hit into 22 bunkers.

He put four balls in the water. His five double bogeys were the most he ever made in one tournament. With one final bogey for a 3-over-par 73, Woods finished out of the top 100 for the first time ever in a major.

"Obviously frustration, disappointment that I'm not contending in the tournament," Woods said. "Next time." That's going to be a while. He doesn't expect to tee it up again until the Australian Open in November, and his next shot at a 15th major title is eight long months away, at the Masters next spring.

"I got some time off again," said Woods, who had just come off a three-month layoff last week after allowing an injured leg to fully heal.

His body may be feeling good, but his game is a mess. But even as other players battled for the lead, Woods captivated the crowd on a steamy day in Atlanta. There were times the fans wanted to cover their eyes. Woods blasted out of a bunker and went into the pond on the other side of the green for a double bogey.

On his next hole, he hooked his drive into the trees, chipped out sideways, then hit a snap-hook back into the trees for another double bogey. At least he went out in style - one more bunker off the tee at No 18, one more shot into the pond fronting the green. He was angry on Thursday when he opened with a 77.

He looked numb when he left. It was only the seventh time he has failed to qualify for the weekend in 227 tournaments worldwide, and the third time in a major.

He completed only one major this year, a tie for fourth at the Masters.

Now the big question is when and where he will play next. Woods failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, which he has won two of the past four years, meaning he is ineligible for any PGA Tour event for the next six weeks.

The next tournament on his schedule is the Australian Open, starting November 10, although he would not rule out playing somewhere - perhaps a Fall Series event - before then.

Meanwhile, it's back to practice. "Now I'll have nothing to do but work on my game," he said. "That's going to be good."

* Associated Press