Tiger Woods missed his first cut of his latest comeback and the 2018 season on Friday at Riviera Country Club.
By his own account, the site of his first PGA Tour start some 26 years ago is a layout he loves, the course fits his eye and he plays it awful. After fighting through a first-round 72, Woods wasn’t able to conjure the same grit and magic to play the weekend at the Genesis Open.
People get consumed with scores but if you’re looking for immediate positive signs of Tiger Woods’ making a full return to golf, look no further than his commitment to next week’s Honda Classic. Playing 2 in a row on separate coasts. Good stuff.
— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) February 16, 2018
As Rex Hoggard of GolfChannel.com reports, not a lot went right for Woods on Friday, but his health is intact and he plans to play the Honda Classic next week, marking the first time Woods will play back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour since 2015.
Woods began the day at Riviera teetering on the cut line at 1 over, played his opening loop in 2 over par to drift further back and closed his day, and week, with a 5-over 76 and a 6-over total to miss the cut by five strokes.
There is no shortage of culprits on this front.
He struggled off the tee. He struggled with his irons. And on Friday he struggled with his short game, which had been the rock his comeback had rested on until now.
He was once again plagued by the wild miss off the tee, hitting just 13 of 28 fairways for two days with a tee ball that offended equally, sailing right four times and left seven. So much for that “stout” new shaft.
But if his tee ball became public enemy No. 1, his iron play may have been worse with Woods finding a pedestrian 16 of 36 greens in regulation. That’s the fewest greens for Tiger through two rounds in a Tour event as a professional.
“I would say he’s a pretty good ways away,” figured Justin Thomas, who may need to find another ride home after flying out to Los Angeles on Air Tiger. “He’s obviously not driving it well, he’s not hitting the shots that he wants to. Probably the distance control isn’t quite there.”
Thomas was quick to point out that despite Woods’ struggles he continued to fight like few can, at least on Thursday when he turned what probably should have been a 75 into a 72. On Friday, the magic ran out.
Woods’ abbreviated week in Los Angeles began with a lost ball in a eucalyptus tree and ended with his surprising loss of touch on the greens.
He missed par attempts from 13 (No. 9), 4 1/2 (No. 11), 5 1/2 (No. 12) and 6 1/2 (No. 16) feet on Day 2, the final three miscues marking his first three three-putts of the week. That deft touch that had secured him weekend tee times last month at Torrey Pines and kept his round on Day 1 at the Genesis Open from becoming ugly, had vanished.
“The feeling of not feeling very good over my putts finally caught up with me,” Woods said.
Woods has a few days to think about those feelings, and he’ll spend the weekend fulfilling his host duties at Riviera before heading home for next week’s Honda Classic.
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