WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — There was nothing wrong with Tiger Woods’ ball-striking on Thursday or Friday. He was a machine off the tee and hit plenty of greens.
If Woods was to point to why he missed his second cut of the season, he’d point at one club: his putter.
Despite a shaky start, Tiger got it going over his final nine holes, but missed birdie putts at Nos. 13 and 15 proved costly as he fired a 1-under 69 to miss the cut at the Greenbrier Classic by a single shot.
“I didn’t quite have it,” Woods said. “I drove it really good today and I just did not have the feel for the distances. The ball was just going forever. I know we’re at altitude, but I just couldn’t get the ball hit pin high no matter what I did, and subsequently, I made some bogeys.”
It is only his ninth missed cut in his career on the PGA Tour, and is only the second time in his career he has missed a cut in two events in the same year (the other was in 2005). Tiger missed five cuts in his first 231 PGA Tour starts, while missing four in his past 41.
Woods believes his distance control will be easy to work on heading to the British Open, which starts July 19 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
“Yeah, because it’s not going to be this warm and we’re not going to be at altitude. We’ll be on the beach,” he said.
Phil Mickelson also failed to advance to weekend play, the first time Woods and Mickelson have missed the cut in the same tournament as professionals.
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson topped the leaderboard at 9 under when play was suspended because of darkness in the round that was delayed because of rain.
See how it all unfolded on Friday:
• • •
No. 18, Par 3, 162 yards
Tiger needs a hole-in-one to make the cut. He has three in his career on the PGA Tour.
• Off the tee: With the pin up, the hole is only playing 137 yards and Tiger takes sand wedge and lands it about 6 feet under the cup, ending his chances for playing on the weekend.
• On the green: Tiger makes the birdie putt, but it is too little, too late and he misses the cut by a shot.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 18 holes; Even on the tournament)
• • •
No. 17, Par 5, 616 yards
Tiger knows what he has to do to make the cut, and now he moves to the hole he double-bogeyed on Thursday after hitting his tee shot into the water and missing an 18-incher for bogey.
• Off the tee: Tiger avoids the water on the right by ripping it up the left side, where it finds the left rough. He might be able to take a whack at his second shot and give it a go in two.
• Second shot: Tiger has about 300 yards remaining to the pin in the back right, but he has to lay up because of his lie, simply sending it up the middle of the fairway to leave about 115 yards into the flag.
• Approach shot: Tiger is frustrated with himself after this approach, putting it right on line, but comes up about 25 feet short. He’ll need to drain this to stand a chance to make the cut.
• On the green: And he leaves it 18 inches short despite finding the perfect line, settling for a par and likely headed toward his second missed cut of the season.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 17 holes; 1 over for the tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Steve Stricker picks up his fifth consecutive birdie to move to 4 under heading to his final hole of the day.
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No. 16, Par 4, 444 yards
Tiger might look back at that misread on the 15th as the reason why he isn’t playing the weekend at Greenbrier.
• Off the tee: With driver in hand, Tiger rips it up the left side and it rolls just into the first cut of rough, which will create a tough second shot.
• Approach shot: Having to take this right over a bunker on the left side of the green, Tiger takes aim from 115 yards and the ball hits right next to the pin, but it runs out to about 30 feet above the hole. From the rough, there was no way to get enough backspin to stop the ball.
• On the green: Tiger puts great pace on the birdie attempt, but it stays right and settles 12 inches from the hole. He taps it in for a par. He’ll need to finish birdie-birdie to make the cut (or an eagle would do the trick).
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 16 holes; 1 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: What happened to Vijay Singh? Singh, who entered the day tied for first at 7 under is 4 over on the day and 3 under for the tournament. Also, Jeff Maggert just birdied No. 18 to pull into a five-way tie for the lead along with Jonathan Byrd, Charlie Beljan, Jerry Kelly and Webb Simpson. Steve Stricker had been in danger of missing the cut at 1 over. Now he’s 3 under after four straight birdies, including one most recently at the par-5 16th.
• • •
No. 15, Par 3, 217 yards
That was a timely birdie for Tiger, but will need two more over his final four holes to make the cut with the cut line holding strong at 1 under.
• Off the tee: With 6-iron in hand, Tiger plays a fantastic shot that runs just past the hole and settles about 7 feet above the hole.
• On the green: Tiger misses on the low side and taps in for a par. That one might come back to hurt.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 15 holes; 1 over the tournament)
• • •
No. 14, Par 4, 401 yards
Tiger can’t seem to get the speed of the greens down, leaving four putts within inches of the cup on Friday. While a par on 13 is a good score, that birdie miss will sting.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes fairway wood and hits yet another fairway, sending it up the right side.
• Approach shot: With just less than 130 yards left to the front-left pin, Tiger takes wedge and hits a nice shot to about 10 feet under the hole.
• On the green: Tiger picks up another birdie with a very nice, emphatic putt from under the hole.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 14 holes; 1 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: The cut line is still projected at 1 under, meaning golfers like Jim Furyk and Marc Leishman are on the outside looking in at even par. But all three are still on the course.
• • •
No. 13, Par 4, 492 yards
With six holes remaining, Tiger now needs three birdies to get to the cut line. There is a slim possibility that the cut line could drop to even par, but that would take five current players at 1 under dropping a shot.
• Off the tee: The 13th hole is playing as the second-toughest today, nearly one-third of a stroke over par. With driver in hand, Tiger pummels a drive that cuts just right and runs into the middle of the fairway.
• Approach shot: With the 317-yard drive, Tiger has 160 yards left to the front-right pin and takes 9-iron, flighting it beautifully, but it sticks upon hitting the green and leaves himself about 30 feet for birdie.
• On the green: Tiger gives it a nice run and gets it on a great line, but comes up about four inches short and taps in for a par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 13 holes; 2 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Webb Simpson drained a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 12 to move into a share of the lead at 8 under. SImpson is 3 under on the day and is tied with Jonathan Byrd and Charlie Beljan atop the leaderboard.
• • •
No. 12, Par 5, 568 yards
With Tiger falling back and likely headed toward a second missed cut of the season (only his ninth of his career), the only thing that could save Tiger is a pair of eagles at the par 5s. His first chance is now.
• Off the tee: Tiger pulls driver and hammers it and immediately starts using body language to try and get it to kick right, but it doesn’t and skirts into the first cut of rough. He should still have a shot at the green in two.
• Second shot: From 248 yards, Tiger takes a big whack at the ball and comes up short of the green and will have a simple pitch to the hole.
• Approach shot: Tiger plays a nice simple chip to about 6 feet under the hole, which he’ll have for a must-make birdie.
• On the green: Obviously frustrated with his putter, Tiger drains this putt and he inches back toward that cut line. Will still need three more of those over his final six holes.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 12 holes; 2 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Things are starting to get crowded at the top. Five players are tied for third at 7 under and all five of them are still on the course. Jeff Maggert and Jerry Kelly, who just missed a birdie putt on No. 4, are through 12 holes, Webb Simpson is through 10, Charlie Wi through nine and J.B. Holmes through 15. Wi is 4 under on the day.
• • •
No. 11, Par 4, 493 yards
Being aggressive cost Tiger at the 10th and now will need three birdies coming in to make the current cut.
• Off the tee: Tiger chooses to take 3-wood off the tee at the longest par 4 on the course and rips it up the right side of the fairway. He is 9-for-9 in fairways hit on Friday.
• Approach shot: From about 175 yards to the front-right pin, Tiger is aggressive again and misses the green to the right and sets up a tough chip.
• Around the green: Tiger nearly holes out his difficult chip, but misses to the left and it runs out to about 8 feet for par, which is a must-make at this point.
• On the green: And he misses for a second-straight bogey to open his back-nine and it is looking more and more like Tiger will miss the weekend.
TIGER ON THE DAY:2 over (thru 11 holes; 3 over for tournament)
• • •
No. 10, Par 4, 385 yards
Tiger missed another opportunity there and will need to go 2 under on the back-nine to make the current cut. He moves to the shortest par 4 on the course.
• Off the tee: Tiger elects to lay back and goes with long iron, sending it up the left side of the fairway.
• Approach shot: It is dangerous to attack this extreme back-left pin, but Tiger does so from 135 yards and goes long and into the rough, leaving himself a tough up-and-down.
• Around the green: Forced to play a flop from behind the green after getting a free drop because of a TV tower, Tiger hits it a bit too heavy and doesn’t get out of the rough. His second chip slides by on the right and he taps in for bogey.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 10 holes; 2 over for tournament)
• • •
No. 9, Par 4, 404 yards
Tiger is striping the ball today, but is fooled by many of the greens and the kicks that the he will or won’t get.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes 3-wood and plays a beautiful fade into the middle of the fairway. He has hit all seven fairways on his first nine.
• Approach shot: With only 116 yards left, Tiger takes wedge and lands it right under the hole and will have about 12 feet for birdie.
• On the green: As Tiger was lining up his birdie attempt, the horn sounded to clear the course due to bad weather in the area. After a 150-minute delay, Tiger reads too much break in the putt and it slides by on the left side. He makes the turn with an even-par 34 on the front.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 9 holes; 1 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Tom Watson is putting together a solid round. The 62-year-old Watson is 3 under through seven holes Friday after entering the second round at even par. He has birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 5 and 7, to go along with just one bogey – at the par-4 sixth. Watson is currently through 10 holes and above the projected cut line of 1 under.
• • •
No. 8, Par 3, 234 yards
Tiger finally got one to drop at the 7th hole and now steps up to the longest par 3 on the course.
• Off the tee: With the pin tucked on the middle left, Tiger takes 5-iron and asks for a big bounce, but doesn’t get it and will have about 55 feet from off the green for birdie.
• Around the green: Tiger decides to putt from off the green and gives it a nice run, as the ball runs right under the hole and settles about 4 feet to the left.
• On the green: Tiger drains the par putt to stay at even for the day.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 8 holes; 1 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: After six pars to open his round, Webb Simpson birdies Nos. 7 and 8 to get to 7 under, one shot off the lead.
• • •
No. 7, Par 4, 430 yards
That is two narrow misses for birdie in a row for Tiger, who will need a birdie over these final three holes of the front nine to make the turn at even and hope to take advantage of the two par-5s on the back nine.
• Off the tee: Tiger uses 3-wood and smacks it up the middle of the fairway, leaving himself about 120 yards into the green.
• Approach shot: With lob wedge in hand from about 120 yards, Tiger lands it nicely under the hole and will have about 8 feet for birdie.
• On the green: With a tiny bit of left-to-right action, Tiger drains it for his first birdie of the day to get back to 1 over for the tournament, two shots outside the cut line.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 7 holes; 1 over for tournament)
• • •
No. 6, Par 4, 471 yards
Tiger can’t afford to miss many more opportunities like that as he enters his final 13 holes, needing to play them at 3 under.
• Off the tee: Tiger hits another fairway, bombing it just over 300 yards up the left side and has just over 170 yards left to the back pin.
• Approach shot: Tiger is being super aggressive, but it bites him a bit here, going right past the flag and settles off the back of the green and leaves himself about 25 feet from the hole.
• Around the green: From the first cut of rough, Tiger nearly knocks it in, leaving it four inches from the cup.
• On the green: Tiger taps it in for par and gets one-third the way through his round at 1 over.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 6 holes; 2 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Charlie Wi is making a nice little charge toward the front. Wi is 6 under – two shots back – and 3 under through four holes Friday. He eagled the par-5 12th and birdied the par-4 10th after teeing off on the back nine to start his second round this afternoon.
• • •
No. 5, Par 4, 388 yards
Tiger had some success at the 5th on Thursday, using a fabulous approach to make a nice birdie.
• Off the tee: Tiger puts himself in prime position again, sending an iron up the middle of the fairway and leaving himself about 120 yards into the front pin.
• Approach shot: Tiger gives himself his first real chance at birdie, knocking his second shot to about 7 feet to the right of the flag.
• On the green: But Tiger can’t take advantage of his great approach, two-putting for a par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 5 holes; 2 over for tournament)
• • •
No. 4, Par 4, 427 yards
A week after a 41-hole streak of no bogeys at Congressional – a much stiffer test – Tiger can’t seem to stop hurting himself with his putter, and that bogey at No. 3 could come back to hurt.
• Off the tee: Tiger uses less-than-driver at No. 4, splitting the fairway and leaving himself a little less than 170 yards to the pin. He is 3-of-3 in fairways hit.
• Approach shot: Tiger decides to get aggressive, challenging the bunker in front of the flag and he loses this battle, sending it right into it and short-siding himself. This day has not started the way Tiger envisioned.
• Around the green: Hitting out of this bunker for the second-straight day, Tiger plays a nice shot to about 4 feet right of the hole. He was also 4 feet out on Thursday.
• On the green: Tiger knocks in the short par putt for a nice up-and-down, but scrambling won’t get it done today.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 4 holes; 2 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: J.B. Holmes has moved to 7 under and into third place – one stroke behind the leaders – thanks to a 2-under back-nine Friday. Holmes, who started on No. 10, has birdies on Nos. 11 and 17.
• • •
No. 3, Par 3, 205 yards
Tiger is going to need either some of those long ones to drop or take some chances and try to get it closer as the round moves on. The afternoon heat will make the greens hard, so this will be an uphill battle.
• Off the tee: Playing his first par 3 of the day, the pin is located near the front of the ultra-long green that is protected by bunkers on both sides. Tiger hits the green, but is having trouble with his distances, sending this more than 50 feet past the flag. He was upset immediately, muttering at the ball after impact.
• On the green: Facing a difficult birdie putt back down the green, Tiger leaves it about 7 feet short, leaving a testy one for par. He misses the par attempt long and taps in for a sloppy three-putt bogey.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 3 holes; 2 over for tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: The projected cut line is a 1 under. Some notables in the afternoon wave who are flirting with the line include John Daly, Chris DiMarco and Keegan Bradley at 2 under; Steve Stricker at 1 under; Marc Leishman at even; Tiger, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker at 1 over. Meanwhile, Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas will make the cut at 2 under, while Patrick Cantlay will also play the weekend, sitting at 3 under.
• • •
No. 2, Par 4, 488 yards
That was a critical par save there for Tiger, especially since it will take at least a couple under par to get inside the cut line.
• Off the tee: Tiger blasts another driver at his second hole and he likes it, hitting another fairway. Fairways or greens weren’t Tiger’s problem on Thursday, it was getting his approaches close enough for realistic birdie chances.
• Approach shot: With a little more than 160 yards to the front-right pin, Tiger chooses to attack it and goes right over the flag and lands about 25 feet behind the hole, which he’ll have for birdie.
• On the green: Tiger’s birdie attempt has eyes for the hole, but runs past by about 18 inches and he taps that in for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 2 holes; 1 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Vijay Singh, who entered the second round as the leader at 7 under, is 1 over through two holes on the day. Singh bogeyed the par-4 11th to fall back to 6 under – two shots back of leaders Jonathan Byrd and Charlie Beljan. Bob Estes is tied with Singh at 6 under after a 5-under 65 on Friday.
• • •
No. 1, Par 4, 449 yards
Tiger will take to the first tee knowing that he likely needs to fire a 2-under 68 to make the cut. He picked up birdie at No. 1 on Thursday.
• Off the tee: With the hole playing slightly under par, Tiger starts aggressive by pulling driver and slamming it up the middle of the fairway to the tune of 330 yards.
• Approach shot: With a little less than 120 yards left to the back pin, Tiger takes wedge and overcooks it, sending it off the back of the green and leaving himself more than 35 feet back to the hole.
• Around the green: Tiger won’t be happy with this shot, getting it on the green with a putt, but leaving it 11 feet short and he’ll have that for par.
• On the green: Tiger’s putter was faulty on Thursday, but he manages to save par here to stay at 1 over.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 1 hole; 1 over for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Rookie Charlie Beljan is in the clubhouse at 8 under, tied with Jonathan Byrd for the lead. Beljan dropped a shot at his final hole, but carded his best round as a PGA Tour professional. He had missed six cuts and had two WDs this season, with his T-29 finish at the Travelers his best of the season.
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Update #3: 12:48 p.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson fired a second consecutive 1-over 71 to finish at 2 over through two rounds, effectively ending his week at Greenbrier. He missed the cut in 2011 as well.
Rookie Charlie Beljan has taken the outright lead at 8 under, one shot clear of Jonathan Byrd and Vijay Singh. Beljan is 8 under on his round with three holes to play.
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Update #2: 12:16 p.m. EDT
While there aren’t as many super-low scores on Friday, Charlie Beljan is 7 under on his round to get to 7 under overall and tie Vijay Singh and Jonathan Byrd for the lead. Beljan is playing his 14th hole at the par-70 layout.
Currently, the cut line is projected to be at 1 under. Dustin Johnson has moved inside the cut, but Tiger, Gary Woodland, Tom Watson and Jim Furyk will have work to do this afternoon.
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Update #1: 12:11 p.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson is going to need a very strong final three holes if he hopes to avoid missing his second-straight cut at the Greenbrier. He is currently 1 over through 15 holes on Friday. He picked up double-bogey on the par-3 15th hole to derail his round.
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Notes: Justin Thomas fires 3-under 67 at Greenbrier
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Tiger Woods fires 71 in first round at Greenbrier
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Tiger Woods a fantasy favorite this week
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Greenbrier offers a chance for lesser-known players
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5 Things: Tiger Woods finding his consistency
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Greenbrier Classic Round 1 tee times
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