CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - So much for Tiger Woods wanting the
attention to return to his golf.
In a shocking meltdown Friday at the Quail Hollow Championship,
Woods matched the worst nine-hole score of his PGA Tour career and
wound up with a 7-over 79 to miss a cut for only the sixth time in
his 14-year career.
He had three-putt bogeys on consecutive holes. He hit a flop
shot that ran over the green and into the water. And he bottomed
out on the 15th green with a four-putt double bogey from just over
"It is what it is," Woods said when asked if rust or mechancis
were the culprit. "Whatever it was, it wasn't good enough."
Not even close.
Making the performance even more surprising is that Woods was
coming off a tie for fourth at the Masters three weeks ago, a
remarkable performance considering it was his first competition
since a five-month break after being caught cheating on his wife.
This was a big step back.
The 79 was his second-worst score as a pro behind an 81 that
Woods shot in the wind-blown third round of the 2002 British Open
at Muirfield when he was going for the Grand Slam. His 43 on the
back tied his worst nine-hole score on tour; he also shot 43 at the
Bay Hill Invitational three years ago, and the 1996 Tour
"He's obviously got things in his mind other than what's going
between the ropes right now," said British Open champion Stewart
Cink, who played with Woods. "You've got to learn how to balance
what's going on in your life with your golf. And if you're not in a
great place mentally, then it sometimes shows up out there."
This was his first time playing at a regular PGA Tour event with
public ticket sales, and the crowd was gracious as ever with a few
exceptions. Two fans, including a woman, held thumbs-down as Woods
walked off the 15th green. Police also escorted away a fan who
apparently heckled Woods as he left the 17th green. A friend of the
fan, who declined to give his name, said the fan only said, "No
red shirt for you on Sunday."
Otherwise, it was clear over the last two days the fans were
more interested in Woods as a golfer than anything to do with his
personal life. He just didn't give them much to cheer. And he won't
be around for the weekend.
Billy Mayfair was the leader through 36 holes. At 8-under 136
after a 68, he had a one-shot lead over two-time major champion
Angel Cabrera, who played in Woods' group.
For Woods, it was the first time he had missed a cut since the
British Open last summer at Turnberry, and the first time at a
regular PGA Tour event since the Disney Classic at the end of the
"Give this guy a chance, though. He'll bounce back," Mayfair
said. "We all know that. Everyone on tour knows that. By him
missing a few cuts here and there, it's just going to make him come
back even stronger. I don't think anyone out here is worried about
Tiger, and I'm sure Tiger is not worried about it right now,
One shot over the projected cut going to the back nine, Woods
bogeyed the next three holes before it really turned ugly. He hit
driver on the 329-yard 14th hole well to the right on a hill,
leaving him a downhill shot to a green sloping toward the water.
His flop shot came out too hot and went into the water for a double
He had little chance of making the cut at that point, though
more drama followed. He four-putted the 15th, missing a 30-inch
"I've seen him struggle like that off the tee," said Cink, who
also missed the cut. "But he's usually the magician that gets the
ball up and down from everywhere, hits some miraculous shots out of
the trees and stuff. But you've got to remember, he hasn't played a
lot of golf since about November. It's hard to just come back and
be the magician instantly."
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)