Wrong Turn

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Sandy Lyle has spent the better part of the week digging himself into a hole. Tiger Woods spent the better part of Friday afternoon trying to dig himself out of one. Both proved about as effective as an umbrella against a Scottish gale.
 
For the second time in a historic career Woods has missed the cut at a major championship, dropping to 47-for-49 in weekend Grand Slam play as a professional.
 
The world wasnt coming to an end on the Firth of Clyde on Friday, it just felt like it, if one glanced at an upside down leaderboard. A 59-year-old was tied for the lead with a first-time Open participant at intermission and a T. Wood (that would be 28-year-old Timothy from Australia) and a T. Woods (the 14-time major winner) were headed for the same place ' the airport.
 
Its not as though Woods made a complete mess of things. Dressed in all black, which seemed about right, and under menacing gray skies that matched his mood, he opened his second round with the type of ball control that was missing on Thursday when he signed for a 71 and headed to the practice range looking for answers.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods could not recover from the deficit he put himself in Friday at the 138th Open Championship. (Getty Images)
I was playing well the first seven holes, hitting good shot after good shot, said Woods, who last missed a cut at a major at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot shortly after the death of his father, Earl. The way the guys were all coming backwards, I would have figured if I would have shot 2-under par today I would have been right there.
 
A steady start and a deft birdie at No. 7 lifted Woods out of the black for the week. But from there, as they say here on the craggy coast, things went pear shaped.
 
He missed the fairway left at the eighth ' bogey. His 3-wood into a savage gale adjacent the ancient lighthouse found the right rough on the next hole ' bogey. And at the 10th another wayward 3-wood prompted Woods to use a rarely-used word, provisional ' double bogey.
 
From there, as the old baseball bromide goes, it was getting early late for the three-time Open Championship winner.
 
Five holes ultimately decided Woods Open fate, a run from Nos. 8 through 13 he played in 7 over. By the time Woods turned for the downwind run he was three shots outside the projected cut line and playing catch up on a course that was giving little. He made a game of it. Always does.
 
Birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 gave Woods and the huddled galleries hope, but his chip for birdie at the last turned away at the last and emptied the field of the games top draw.
 
I just havent put together all four rounds, Woods said of his 0-for-3 run in the seasons biggest events. You have to play clean cards and I just didnt do it. Although he said he was comfortable with his swing, there was no room for error as the wind began to ravage the Ailsa Course, just ask Ben Curtis who went from contender to count me out in 80 strokes on Friday.
 
One can only imagine the text message waiting for Woods from Grand Slam stablemate Roger Federer: And I never lose in the second round of a major. LOL.
 
What happened? Scotland happened. Golfs oldest major championship is also its oddest.
 
You dont often see him play shots like that, but everybody is entitled to a bad day, said Lee Westwood, who played alongside Woods on Friday. The wind can play havoc with your swing and he hit a couple bad shots at the wrong time.
 
The best fix for Woods swing is Hazeltine National, site of next months PGA Championship and about as far from the capricious and windswept Scottish fairways as one can get.
 
You can break down his swing all you want, cautioned one longtime Tour swing coach, but its just links golf. It happens.
 
Just not very often to Woods.
 
Dont expect a post-mortem from the Woods Camp when he arrives in central Florida early Saturday. The world may be asking whats wrong, but the world No. 1 will only be interested in whats next?
 
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