Tiger Woods may be on the way to missing consecutive PGA Tour cuts for the first time in his professional career, but he is hardly the only top golfer at this week’s Players Championship who may be getting in some unplanned practice time over the weekend.
Steve Stricker (6-over after a second-round 74) hasn’t missed a cut since the 2009 FBR Open -- a streak of 49 straight cuts made. Barring some monumental meltdowns by those ahead of him on the scoreboard, Stricker is virtually assured to fall short of the projected cut line at even-par.
Reigning U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy (4-over after a second-round 76), who’s missed the cut in three starts at The Players, is also slated for a loud trunk-slamming later today. It would be McIlroy’s third MC in three starts. He took a pass on last year’s tourney and last missed a cut at the 2011 Wells Fargo.
Ernie Els, who was on the range late last night, is also likely to tip his cap to the TPC Sawgrass crowd for the final time in 2012. He is at 3-over through 17.
Moving in the opposite direction was Zach Johnson, who with eight birdies and a 6-under 66 on Friday, was working on the low round of the day and led the way at 8-under. Charlie Wi, who fired a 5-under 67, also made his way up the leaderboard and, with much golf to play, shares third place with 18-hole co-leader Martin Laird, Adam Scott and two others.
As for Woods, who missed the cut at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, the former No. 1 began his second round at 2-over and had a lot of ground to cover. Playing partner Mahan, sharing 93rd place with Woods, also had his work cut out for him if he hoped to play over the weekend.
Ian Poulter, who shared the 18-hole lead with Laird, started his day with a double-bogey on the 10th hole to move to 5-under. Laird, meanwhile, held the second-round lead at 10-under when he left the 15th green, but proceeded to drop four shots quickly. He bogeyed the 16th after losing his second shot into the water, made a double on the island green of the par-3 17th after rinsing another ball, and limped in with a bogey on 18.