When someone goes through what Nick Dougherty went through – missing 21 consecutive cuts on the European Tour before making one on Friday at the Omega European Masters – it’s hard not to look for comfort in the similar experience of another person. In this case, there is only one relevant, comparable example.
Justin Rose missed 21 consecutive cuts around the world after he turned pro following the 1998 Open Championship at Birkdale. From the Dutch Open to the European Grand Prix nearly a year later, Rose could not make a paycheck. (In dispute is whether the streak is actually 20 events, as Rose made the cut Austrian Open on the Challenge Tour before his 21st missed cut at the Moroccan Open. But we digress.)
Of course, Rose was but a teenager when he hit the ultimate skid to start a career. Dougherty was 29 when his began, is now happily married and had won three times on the European Tour beforehand. Nonetheless, there’s a degree of similarity.
By most measures, Rose’s skid was more harrowing. The scoring average for both weekday rounds is higher for Rose. Dougherty checked in at 74.5 for each round of his 20 events in 2011 where he didn’t make a paycheck. Rose was at 74.9 and 75.8 in the first and second rounds, respectively.
Dougherty was 121 over for his entire streak. Rose was that many over in his European Tour starts alone, not counting four tournaments in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa where he missed the cut.
Both streaks began with tournaments where they finished at even par or better. Dougherty missed the cut in Hong Kong on 1 under. Rose missed the cut in his first pro event at the Dutch Open by a shot on even par.
The after effects of that missed cut were more astounding for Rose. Dougherty had finished at even par twice more during the streak for 36 holes, while Rose did not break 70 after that Dutch second round of 65 for another 40 rounds. Dougherty did so four times during the streak.
Rose finished at 10 over or worse five times. So did Dougherty.