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Tiger Woods misses the cut at the PGA Championship

Journeyman Jason Dufner (65) and rookie Keegan Bradley (64) share the lead at five under par.

August 12, 2011|By Jeff Shain
  • Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the first hole Friday to start the second round of the PGA championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the first hole Friday to start the second… (Jeff Haynes / Reuters )

Reporting from Johns Creek, Ga. — The anger of a day earlier was long gone in Tiger Woods by the time the final holes played out. Only resignation.

And maybe an eagerness to just move on after a lost 2011 PGA Tour season was unceremoniously put to rest with an early exit from the PGA Championship.

"It's a step backward in the sense that I didn't make the cut," Woods said after Friday's three-over-par 73 left him with an idle weekend for only the third time as a pro in a major championship. "But it's a giant leap forward in the fact that I played two straight weeks healthy.

"That's great for our practice sessions coming up. We are going to be able now to work and get after it."

Two double bogeys shortly after making the turn at Atlanta Athletic Club sealed his fate — at No.11 after watching a bunker shot skitter into a pond, then at No.12 after a dead pull into the trees that ranks among the ugliest shots of his career.

Even with two late birdies, the winner of 14 major titles staggered to the finish at 10-over 150 — six shots off the cut line.

Not entered in next week's final stop for players to qualify for the PGA Tour's "postseason," Woods probably won't tee it up in competition again until overseas in November.

"Yeah, I've got some time off again," he said. The PGA was only his second event back from a 12-week layoff to heal a sprained left knee and Achilles' tendon, keeping him out of the U.S. Open and British Open.

Keegan Bradley, a PGA Tour rookie playing his first major, and journeyman Jason Dufner used strong late-day rounds to share the lead at five-under 135. Bradley toured Atlanta AC in 64 strokes; Dufner posted a 65.

"When you're playing well, it seems easy," Bradley said. "This course will hurt you if you hit bad shots — but if you hit good shots, it'll reward you just like Steve Stricker did."

On Thursday, Stricker's 63 matched the major-championship scoring record. A little more than 24 hours later, he struggled to a 74 that left him two shots off the pace.

"It was tough going all the way around," said Stricker, twice a PGA Tour winner this year. "Pulled the wrong clubs, bad decisions, didn't make any putts."

Between Stricker and the leaders were four pros at four under — Jim Furyk (65), D.A. Points (67), Australia's John Senden (68) and Scott Verplank (69). In all, 14 players entered the weekend four shots or less behind the co-leaders.

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, sporting a bandage halfway up his right forearm after his encounter with a tree root one day earlier, struggled to find his touch in a 73.

Before this week, Woods had failed to reach the weekend twice as a pro in major championships — the 2006 U.S. Open after his father's death, and the British Open two years ago at Turnberry. He missed the Masters cut as an amateur in 1996.

But he found his back against the wall after Thursday's opening 77.

"I think I was in, what, 20 bunkers in two days?" Woods said. "And I had four or five water balls. That's not going to add up to a very good score."

For the record, the count was 22 bunkers (11 off the tee, 11 greenside) and four splashdowns. It also marked the first time as a pro that Woods has made five double bogeys in a tournament.

jshain@orlandosentinel.com

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