LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Well, it’s over.
Tiger Woods’ worst season as a professional came to an end Friday, terminated by a missed cut at the PGA Championship, Woods’ fourth career missed cut in a major. The other three major misses were the 2006 U.S. Open, the 2009 British Open and the 2011 PGA Championship.
Woods shot a second consecutive 74 Friday at Valhalla to end the week at 6 over par, 15 shots behind leader Rory McIlroy. He winced and walked gingerly for most of the afternoon and later admitted that during his practice session he experienced back pain similar to what caused him to withdraw last week during the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“It's very frustrating because the golf course is gettable,” Woods said. “It was as soft as it could be today.
“I tried as hard as I could. That’s about all I got.”
It was clear early in the round that Woods was not going to see the weekend. He scrambled for pars on the first three holes but played the next four holes in 4 over par, including an ugly three-putt double bogey on the par-4 sixth hole. A bogey on the next hole vaulted Woods to 7 over and well off the cut line. He did make birdie on two of the last four holes but it did little to soften the blow of another mind-boggling week where all parts of his game were mediocre.
Sure, Woods missed nearly four months because of back surgery, but still, chew on these stats:
In seven starts on the PGA Tour this year Woods made five cuts and failed to record a top-10 finish. His best finish was a 25th-place tie at the limited-field WGC-Cadillac Championship and he earned only $108,275. That money that Woods earned is less than he’s made in 176 different PGA Tour events in his pro career, which began in 1996.
“Certainly very frustrating any time you have to sit out because of surgery and to deal with the things I’ve had to deal with this year,” he said.
What’s next for Woods is anyone’s guess. In fact, he said he wasn’t sure where he’d play next. He will not play the regular-season PGA Tour finale next week in Greensboro, and he hasn’t qualified for either the FedEx Cup playoffs or the Ryder Cup. It’s possible that U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson could pick Woods to be part of the team, but Watson has said all along that he only wants a healthy Woods.
Woods was asked what he’d tell Watson the next time they speak. The answer was a curt, “I don’t know. He hasn’t called.”
Woods will play in a one-day charity event for Notah Begay at the end of August, then his next scheduled event is the Americas Golf Cup, a two-man team event in Argentina Oct. 23-26, where he’ll pair with Matt Kuchar.
“Well, I need to get stronger,” Woods said. “Obviously by playing, you can’t burn the candle at both ends. I need to get physically stronger and be back to where I was.”