Tiger survives cut, sits 14 shots back of Rory


HOYLAKE, England – Normally a major championship round that includes 14 pars is a thing of beauty. On this day at Royal Liverpool, it was a disaster for Tiger Woods.

Woods shot an opening-round 69 Thursday at the British Open to vault into contention. Twenty minutes into his second round on Friday, he was 3-over par. Four hours later he was struggling to make the cut.

When the round was over, the score read 5-over 77, tying Woods’ second-worst score in a major championship as a professional. He made birdie on the par-5 home hole to make the cut on the number. At 2-over 146, Woods is 14 shots behind leader Rory McIlroy.

Woods only used driver once during the first round, but stood on the first tee Friday with the big stick in his hand and blew the ball well left. His approach landed short, right of the green, his chip landed over the back left of the green, he failed to get up and down from there and  recorded a double-bogey 6.

On the par-4 second, Woods took driver off the tee again, but this time hit it right. That led to bogey to put him 3 over after the first two holes.

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Irons off the next two holes produced easy pars, but Woods hit driver off the par-5 fifth tee and again hit it right of the fairway. His second was short of the green, he putted his third about 20 feet past the hole and two-putted for a disappointing par.

“Yeah, I didn’t hit driver very good today,” Woods said. “I was trying to be a bit more aggressive. With the wind the way it was, I could take some of the bunkers out of play and get it down where I (could hit) sand wedge into the green.

“I figured today would be a chance to go out there and be aggressive and do that … and just didn’t drive it well.”

Still, even though Woods wasn’t playing his best, he was hanging in there, fighting his swing, doing what he needed to do to give himself a Saturday afternoon tee time. Then, the dastardly driver jumped up and bit him again.

Woods hit his drive on the par-4 17th hole out of bounds right. He reloaded, hit driver again, but this time the ball sailed into junk left of the fairway. Woods hacked over the green, flubbed his chip shot and two-putted from 35 feet for triple-bogey 7. He was immediately outside the cut line by a shot.

Thankfully the last hole is a par 5. Woods hit 3-wood off the tee, hit his second shot right of the green, then got up and down for birdie by making an 8-footer to make the cut on the number.

“Well it gives me a chance,” Woods said of making birdie on 18.

A chance to play the weekend, yes; a chance to win a fourth claret jug, not so much.