U.S. Open 2018: Tiger Woods rebounds with score of 72 but misses Shinnecock cut
Big Cat is disappointed in his short game (and he should be)
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Tiger Woods rebounded in Round 2 of the 2018 U.S. Open with a 2-over 72 on Friday, a score two shots better than the field average in the morning wave. Unfortunately, when you stack the 72 on top of his 78 from Thursday, it puts him at 10 over and outside the cut line at Shinnecock Hills.
The missed cut is Tiger's second straight at a U.S. Open (2015) and his second of the season. The frustrating part for Woods is that it didn't have to be this way. Battling cold, Open Championship-like conditions early on Friday, Tiger once again struck the ball quite well. And once again, he couldn't putt it into the Atlantic Ocean from one of the myriad beaches dotting the Southampton coast line.
It started off well as Woods birdied his first hole of the day (the 10th hole on the course) and played the back nine on the course in even-par 35. Then, for the second day in a row on the first hole on the course, Woods posted a crooked number despite starting from the center of the fairway. He doubled the hole after spraying his approach out to the right and hitting his third over the other side of the green.
Woods made two more bogeys -- he played the first two holes on the course in 7 over this week -- before making birdie at his final two holes of the day. It was likely too little, too late for Big Cat.
"Unfortunately, it's just what I've done the last few events," said Woods. "I just haven't putted well. You know, if I would have putted like I did the beginning of the year with this ball-striking, that would be ideal. Unfortunately, I just haven't done that. I'm hitting it just fine. I just have not made any putts, and ... I haven't made those key ones to keep the momentum going, or if I have any positive momentum. I miss a putt and derail it. I just haven't made those key putts in the last few events."
His 10-over score could be was not good enough to make a cut that was settled at 8 over by the end of the day. It's just the eighth missed cut of his career as a pro at major championships but his fifth in his last seven majors.
There was seemingly a lot riding on this U.S. Open for Woods. He came in with the spotlight fully on him after two straight tournaments (Players Championship and Memorial) in which he was lights out from tee to green. A handful of bad shots, which led to doubles and a triple this week, combined with a short game that clearly isn't major championship ready proved two things, though.
The first is that U.S. Opens expose a lack of sharpness in your game like no other event in the world. You have to be in complete control to contend at them or even make the cut. The second is that Tiger isn't as close, at least at majors, as maybe some of us thought. Most of that is due to his short game, though, which is where you want to be struggling if you're struggling.
Tiger was asked after his round if he thinks he can still win a major.
"Absolutely," he said.
"Why?" the reporter asked.
"Have you seen the way I've been swinging?" replied Woods.
It was a great (and true) retort, which surely makes this week at Shinnecock all the more frustrating. Feeling close, really close, is probably more frustrating than feeling far away. Regardless, Woods will be watching the weekend at the U.S. Open from his couch for the fifth consecutive year.
As the rain and wind tumbled on this classic venue early on Friday with the sun hours from showing itself, Tiger walked after his playing partners, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, on a dirt and gravel path just in front of the short grass of the fairway. He kicked hard at a rock with his right foot and connected. It found the fairway, just as Woods did so many times over the first 36 holes.
Thankfully for him, he didn't have to putt it.
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