Tiger Woods at British Open 2022: Emotional missed cut has 15-time major winner pondering St. Andrews future

Tiger Woods' bid for a third career major victory at St. Andrews during the 150th Open Championship came up well short on Friday as the 15-time major champion missed the weekend cut, turning in a 3-over 75 in Round 2 to finish an abbreviated stay in Scotland at 9 over through 36 holes of play. It was the second straight Open in which Tiger will not play the weekend and his second consecutive missed cut at St. Andrews, his favorite golf course in the world.

Woods opened his week with a stunning 6-over 78 that put his back against the wall from the first tee onward. Barring a miraculous comeback, which likely would have needed to be 66 or better -- a score he has not shot in a major since 2018 -- it was unlikely that Woods would play the weekend at the final major of the season. After a birdie at the par-4 3rd on Friday to capture a sliver of momentum that eluded him all week, Tiger made bogey on two of his next three holes and par on 11 of his final 12.

A run of nine consecutive pars beginning at No. 7 after an uneven start ended in spectacular fashion with a double bogey at the par-4 16th, which played as the hardest hole on the Old Course in Round 2. Following a mishit approach, he plunged into the green side pot bunker and was unable to get up and down to salvage bogey. It was his third double bogey on the week after posting two during a dreadful opening nine on Thursday.

"I always enjoy playing The Open at the Old Course. It's special," Woods said after his round. "The R&A set it up with some pretty tricky pins, some new ones, and made it pretty difficult -- obviously more difficult on me than the others. But any time you get a chance to play the Old Course at The Open, it's just special."

It would have been a story ripped straight from a fairytale for Woods to compete at the Open Championship at St. Andrews, the place where golf began, where he's won two of his three Claret Jugs and where so much history resides. But after withdrawing with injury from the PGA Championship in May and not participating in the U.S. Open in June, even Woods' course knowledge and experience was not enough for him to surmount the challenge that is the Old Course. It was just his fourth missed cut in the Open Championship across 22 career appearances. 

While a missed cut doesn't qualify as a storybook ending, there was nonetheless drama at the finish for one of golf's all-time greats. As he crossed the Swilcan Bridge on No. 18 and tipped his cap, fans wondered whether Woods would pause and soak in the adulation -- the mark of a golfer who is not anticipating a return to St. Andrews.

Tiger did not break stride, instead walking clear across the bridge while approaching the 18th green wiping away tears with an appreciative grin. Woods later said he was unsure about his future at the Old Course, but it sure sounded like he would play St. Andrews again as long as his health cooperates.

"I've been lucky enough to been doing this since 1995. I don't know if I'll physically be able to play another British Open here at St. Andrews. I certainly feel like I'll be able to play more British Opens, but I don't know if I'll be around when it comes back here," Woods said. "The warmth and the ovation at 18, it got to me. I felt the guys stop there off the tee off 18. It was just incredible. Just the amount of understanding and respect from all the people that are involved in this event, that come out to support it, the players, the nods as I was getting as a player for going out. Rory [McIlroy] gave me a tip of the cap. J.T. [Justin Thomas] did the same. There's something about it. It's just different."

His reaction on 18 was emblematic of Woods entire week at St. Andrews as he took in the views and showed an immense appreciation both for the venue and his chance to play on the historic track. Doing so more than a year removed from a traumatic car crash that left him with significant injuries and put his playing career in peril was certainly special for Tiger given the esteem he has for St. Andrews.

After sinking a par at the 18th, Woods with his signature smile again waved his hat to the fans in appreciation and shook hands with his partners, perhaps -- with the next major championship at St. Andrews not set on any future schedule -- for the final time, at least as a viable contender. 

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Tiger Woods wraps up his 22nd Open appearance

It was not what the 15-time major winner had envisioned, but Tiger Woods battled all the way. A winner at St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005, Woods put himself behind the eight ball right off the bat. Finding himself 6 over through his first seven holes in Round 1, the 46-year-old was unable to recover and threaten the projected cutline on Friday. Signing for a 3-over 75 in the second round, Woods finished with a score of 9-over 153. It was an emotional Woods walking up the 18th fairway as he was greeted to a standing ovation as this week likely marked the last realistic opportunity he had to add a third Claret Jug from St. Andrews.

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@TigerWoods via Twitter
July 15, 2022, 7:12 PM
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@TigerWoods via Twitter
July 15, 2022, 4:38 PM
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Tiger makes a mess of the 16th

It is a double-bogey six for Tiger on the par-4 16th as he found some trouble around the green. Now 3 over on the day and 9 over on the championship, he heads to the Road Hole and the finishing 18th.

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Tiger finds Hell Bunker on 14

Finding the infamous pot bunker, Woods hit a nice recovery and found the green roughly 15 feet from the pin. Unable to take advantage of his birdie opportunity, Woods remains at 7 over with the last four holes of his championship remaining.

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Par-par back nine start

Birdie-bogey was how Tiger opened his back nine in Round 1. Par-par is how he opens it in Round 2. That's now five consecutive pars to rebound after bogeys at 4 and 6. He similarly leveled off in Round 1 after opening his first seven holes at six over, but too little too late as he heads towards missing the cut. 

July 15, 2022, 12:17 PM
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Round 2 front nine in the books for Tiger

Tiger is 27 holes in and it is increasingly looking as if he may only be in for 36 this week at St. Andrews. Now 7 over, after an opening-nine 1-over 37, he's 15 strokes off the lead and seven shots off the projected cut line as he makes the turn. Never want to count out the Big Cat, but it's pretty safe to say this will be his last nine in a major on the Old Course for quite some time. 

July 15, 2022, 11:42 AM
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Tiger drops another stroke on front nine

After a 1-under through three start to Round 2, Tiger falls back with bogeys at No. 4 and No. 6 to drop to 7 over on the week and well outside the weekend cut picture. He'll need a miraculous (putting it lightly!) finish to his round to hang around Saturday and Sunday. Just hasn't been crisp with the irons. Paid the price with a mishit off the tee at 6 that left him in a pot bunker. 

July 15, 2022, 10:46 AM
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Tiger's weekend odds

It's been more than four years since Tiger shot 66 or better -- which he likely needs to do today to make the cut -- at a major championship. A birdie at the third has him 1 under on the day, but still a long ways to go. DataGolf gives him about a 4% chance of making the cut. 

July 15, 2022, 9:59 AM
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Tiger finally gets a birdie putt to fall

After a par-par start to Round 2, Tiger sinks a birdie putt -- his first of the day and first since No. 14 in Round 1 -- at the par 4 third. Comes up with an ear-to-ear grin. That moves him to 5 over for the week as he tries to inch his way onto the right side of the cut line. 

July 15, 2022, 9:47 AM
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Steady early start to Round 2 for Tiger

A double bogey at No. 1 in Round 1 Thursday derailed Tiger's mojo from the jump, but he's off and running at St. Andrews this morning and off to a steady start with pars at No. 1 and No. 2. Looks dialed in. At 6 over he probably needs to fire 66 or better to have a chance at playing the weekend, though. Projected cut right now is E.

July 15, 2022, 9:36 AM
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Good morning golf fans

Tiger Woods is about to begin his second round and will have the cards stacked against him. At 6 over, he will need his very best as the projected cutline is even par. Hopefully, they can play a bit faster today and get into a rhythm of sorts.

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@TigerWoods via Twitter
July 15, 2022, 12:56 AM
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Tiger adds another bogey on par-4 16th

He simply has been unable to garner any momentum today as Woods falls to 6 over for the championship. Now on the Road Hole, a round of 5-over 77 is likely on his mind as he finishes up his play for today.

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Tiger birdies par-5 14th

After a 412 (!!!) yard drive, Woods two-putts for birdie to get back to 5 over. Perhaps he can scratch two more birdies and get in at 75. That has to be his goal.

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Woods adds another bogey on No. 13

Woods drops back to 6 over after missing a birdie opportunity on No. 12 and three-putting on No. 13. He is currently tied for 148th out of 156 players.

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Momentum halted on No. 11

Ugh, that just can't happen for Tiger who just three-putted the par-3 11th. Now at 5 over, a score around 75 should be his goal as it would give him a chance to play himself into the weekend tomorrow.

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Two birdies in a row for Tiger

It is almost as if the double bogey on No. 7 woke him up as Woods has now made two birdies in a row after a nice approach on No. 10. He now heads into the part of the golf course where he will play two of the most difficult holes, but also two of the easiest over the next four holes. If he gets by them in 2 under, he will be grinning as he currently stands at 4 over.

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Tiger turns in 41

A birdie on the par-4 ninth sees Tiger Woods turn in 5-over 41. He will have a few scoring opportunities ahead of him and if able to skirt past the difficult par-3 11th may have a chance to get in with something in the low 70s.

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This is getting ugly...

Welp, it is another double bogey for Tiger on No. 7. Now 6 over through his first seven holes, the goal from here on out is to limit the damage and potentially card something in the mid 70s and come back tomorrow with a round in the mid 60s.

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Woods makes par on No. 6

Well, I guess it could have been worse but it is a par on No. 6. Unable to take advantage of two birdie opportunities, Woods remains at 4 over and 12 strokes off the pace.

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Tiger heading in the wrong direction

The 15-time major champion is now 4 over through his first four holes. He now finds himself 12 strokes off the lead of Cameron Young and in serious jeopardy of missing the cut just four holes into this championship. There are plenty of holes left, but the margin for error is officially slim.

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Less than ideal start for Tiger

The 15-time major winner found a divot off the tee on No. 1 and paid a price as he would hit his approach shot in the burn. Unable to get up and down, it resulted in a double bogey on what has been one of the easier holes for players today. With winds freshening, Woods will now need to battle to get back to even par.