Tiger Woods' back may be in much better condition following surgery, but his golf game still has plenty of rust. Woods followed up an opening-round 74 with a 4-over round of 75 Friday at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. At 7-over through 36 holes, Woods finished well off the cut line of 3-over and won't be around for the weekend of his own tournament.
The rust in Woods' game following a three-month layoff was evident all week. While he hit good shots at times and his back held up well, he was far from sharp. His short game was an issue in both rounds, with a number of poor chips and missed putts. He didn't drive the ball especially well on Friday. He was able to successfully scramble to save a few pars early on, but he fell well off the cut line with a rough back nine.
Woods opened the round with four pars, getting up-and-down several times to remain at 3-over for the tournament. The first major issues of his round came at No. 5 when a poor drive, errant approach and plugged bunker lie led to serious trouble. Woods needed two shots to get out of the bunker and eventually made double-bogey. He left a par putt just short at No. 8 to drop to 6-over. Woods then appeared to turn things around a bit, with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 9 and 10. The birdie at No. 10 moved him to 4-over for the tournament and just one stroke behind the projected cut line.
Then it all fell apart.
Another errant drive on No. 11 left Woods just on the edge of the hazard, without much of a stance to hit his second shot.
His approach came up short and he settled for bogey, the first of four straight. Errant drives continued to be a major issue. Early in the round, he was able to scramble from the rough and still salvage par. His short game, however, was just as big of a problem on the back side, and a poor chip at No. 13 led to another bogey. Yet another bogey at No. 14 dropped him to 8-over and near the bottom of the leaderboard.
Woods was finally able to break the bogey string with a par on No. 15. He recorded his third birdie of the day with a four at No. 16 and had a good look at birdie on No. 17. However, his six-foot attempt limped out, a microcosm of his tournament.
While Woods' game wasn't sharp, his back didn't appear to be a problem. He said it felt great following the first round and didn't have any notable issues on Friday. At times he showed flashes of regaining his previous form, but he has plenty of work to do in all areas if he's going to contend at the British Open. At the moment, Woods doesn't plan to play in any tournaments before The Open at Royal Liverpool. That could change if he deems more tournament reps necessary. The Greenbrier Classic next week could be a possibility. He could also play the Scottish Open the week before the British.
It's the 10th missed cut of Woods' PGA Tour career, according to Justin Ray of Golf Channel, and the first time he has missed the cut since the 2012 Greenbrier Classic, a span of 28 events. This is just the fourth time Woods has shot 74 or worse in each of the first two rounds of a PGA Tour event, according to Ray.