We sure hope that whatever millions of shekels the organizers of the Greenbrier Classic reportedly shelled out to rent Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for two days was worth it. Two of the biggest names on the PGA Tour, who purportedly received some $2.5 million between them just to show up this week, according to CBSSports.com’s Steve Elling, won’t be around for the weekend festivities in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
But, hey, at least Tiger and Phil made history at the historic stomping grounds of Slammin’ Sammy Snead: for the first time in their storied rivalry as professionals, both superstars missed the cut in the same tournament. Trivia buffs may recall that Woods and Mickelson missed a cut in the same event back in 1993 at the Byron Nelson when Woods was a high school amateur.
With the projected cut at 1-under, Mickelson filed his walking papers early, posting a 1-over 71 in Friday’s second round that brought him to 2-over for the tournament. Lefty’s funky Friday included a one-stroke penalty on the 11th hole when he dropped his coin and mistakenly nudged his ball as he was attempting to mark it on the green.
That’s a definite no-no, according to Rule 20-1/15. The stricture states that “any accidental movement of the ball or the ball-marker which occurs before or after [the act of marking the ball], such as dropping the ball or ball-marker, regardless of the height from which it was dropped,” results in the player incurring a penalty stroke.
“First time that’s happened to me that I can ever remember,” Mickelson told reporters about the mishap. “I certainly appealed it because I didn’t think I was in the act of marking the ball, but under the decisions and the way it’s worded, anytime a coin slips out of your finger, if you’re not holding onto it, it says, regardless of height, that it’s a penalty.”
The extra stroke did not factor into Mickelson’s missing the cut as much as his lackluster play, which included a double bogey on the par-3 15th.
"I don't get it,” said Mickelson, who missed the cut at last year’s tourney as well. “I've certainly struggled a little bit on the greens both years, but nothing that should have led to these scores."
As for Woods, who needed an ace on the par-3 18th to make it to Saturday but came up some eight feet short, the missed cut was his second of the year and ninth of his career. The last time he missed two cuts in the same season was in 2005, when he made early exits from the Byron Nelson Championship and FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort.
Woods, who shot a 69 to complete his week at even-par -- one shot off the cut line -- also missed the cut in a start that followed a win for only the third time in his professional career.
With players still on the course into the evening hours after a lengthy weather delay, Woods’ playing partner and reigning U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson, at 9-under, was likely to head into the weekend with the lead. Simpson’s 9-under was one better than a bunch of guys, including the immortal Charlie Beljan, who fired an 8-under 62.