Tiger Woods shoots 82 at Phoenix

ByBob Harig ESPN logo
Saturday, January 31, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Give Tiger Woods credit for showing a sense of humor, because there certainly was not much to smile about for him Friday.

After shooting 82, his worst score as a professional, at TPC Scottsdale, Woods stepped to the podium and said: "I'm just doing this so I don't get fined."

Woods laughed at his reference to Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, but he won't be sticking around town for the Super Bowl.

He was headed back to Florida after missing the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, making his first start of 2015 a shocking one to say the least.

For just the second time in his professional career, Woods failed to break 80. The missed cut was just the 13th time worldwide that he failed to qualify for the final 36 holes and the first time he has done so in back-to-back official tournaments.

Woods, 39, also matched his career-high worst nine-hole score of 44.

"We all have days like this," said Woods, who was in last place in the 132-player field when his round ended. "Unfortunately, mine was in a public forum, a public setting. We all have days like this. We take the good with the bad, and the thing is even on bad days like this, just keep fighting, because on the good days you've got to keep fighting, as well."

Phil Mickelson also missed the cut, while Martin Laird shot another 5-under 66 to take a two-shot lead.

This is only the second time both Woods and Mickelson have missed the cut in the same event. The other was at Greenbrier in 2012.

Playing in just his second event since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August, Woods' performance was nonetheless surprising. He spoke positively and confidently prior to the tournament about improvements he made in his game and said there were no physical issues after an injury-plagued 2014.

But after an opening-round 73, Woods unraveled over his first nine holes Friday -- the back nine at TPC Scottsdale, making a triple bogey, a double bogey and three bogeys.

He hit just eight greens for the round and got up and down for par just 2 of 10 times.

"I was caught right between patterns, just old pattern, new pattern," Woods said referring to swing changes he has been making with consultant Chris Como. "And I got it better, more committed to what I was doing on my back 9 and hit some better shots, but still got a lot of work to do."

Woods admitted to some mental hurdles to overcome in the chipping game, and most observers would admit something is wrong.

When faced with a shot from around the green, Woods typically took the straightest club -- a 4-iron -- and tried to run it onto the green, with poor results. On the fourth hole, his 13th, he bladed his chip across the green. And when he missed a green, he never gave himself a tap-in par putt.

Woods was still in last place when play was suspended due to darkness with 15 players yet to finish the second round. However, Arizona club pro Michael Hopper was at 12 over with two holes to play and would need two pars to beat Woods.

Woods has never finished last in a PGA Tour event.

Woods' only other score in the 80s came at the 2002 Open Championship in the third round at Muirfield, where sideways rain and wind-chill temperatures in the low 40s led to his worst day as a pro, an 81. At the time, Woods had won the Masters and U.S. Open and was just two shots out of the lead going into the third round with a third leg of the Grand Slam in play.

While expectations were not high for Woods in his first event of 2015, his performance still rates as a surprise.

Woods holds the record of consecutive cuts made on the PGA Tour, 142 from 1998 through 2005. It remains one of the more underrated accomplishments in his 79-victory, 14-major career.

His missed cut at the PGA in August was just his fourth in a major, and he also missed the cut last year at the Quicken Loans National. That was his first tournament following back surgery.

"That's not an issue anymore, I'm fine, '' Woods said.

Woods, ranked 47th in the world, is projected to fall out of the top 50 with this result. The lowest he has ever fallen since first going to No. 1 in 1997 was 58th in late 2011. He got back to the No. 1 ranking in 2013 and held it until May of last year, when he was out following back surgery.

By falling out of the top 50, Woods is in danger of missing the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. He'll need to be in the top 50 in either of the two weeks preceding the event.

He is scheduled to play next week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times in his career. But last year he shot a third-round 79 and missed the secondary, 54-hole cut.

Before then, there is no Super Bowl in his plans.

"Just practice each and every day," he said. "Just work on it. I'm going home right now."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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