After another wild PGA round, Woods headed home

Tiger Woods waits to putt on the 17th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Tiger Woods lives in a beach community. That means he’s used to water and sand.

But this was ridiculous.

Woods found nine more bunkers in the second round as he shot 73 and missed the PGA Championship cut by six strokes with a 10-over 150 total. He also hit two more balls into water.

For the two days, the ugly totals reached 23 bunkers and four ponds.

“That’s not going to add up to a very good score,” he said after missing only his fourth cut in a major championship and his first at the PGA.

Twenty-three visits to sand in 36 holes? Who does he think he is, Eldrick of Arabia?

Woods played considerably better Friday than he did in the opening 73, but his comeback from a 12-week injury layoff remained full of inconsistency.

“I just never got to the green soon enough,” he said.

Woods made consecutive birdies on Nos. 8-9 at Atlanta Athletic Club's Highlands Course on an even-par front nine that put him at 7 over par and had him thinking of making the cut. But then he followed with double bogeys at Nos. 11 and 12 that were set up by errant drives – the first in another fairway bunker, the second in the trees, both on the left side, for a change.

Asked how he felt, Woods said, “Obviously frustration, disappointment that I’m not contending in the tournament.” Ever the optimist, he added, “So next time.”

Because he didn't qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, "next time" might mean November. His next scheduled start is the Australian Open. He did say, though, that he “might” add more competition between now and then, perhaps in the PGA Tour’s Fall Series.

What’s really next, however, is needed lab work. Woods’ driving was off again here, and the difficult, well-bunkered Highlands Course made him pay. Most of his misses were right – actually, make that right into fairway bunkers.

Last week, he ranked last in driving accuracy at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Here, he hit but 12 of 28 fairways, or 42.9 percent, ranking near the bottom of the field.

As a result, Woods made five double bogeys for the two days, the most he has had in a Tour event, regardless of the amount of holes. Interestingly, in Woods’ first 936 holes in the PGA Championship, he made 11 double bogeys. Here, he made five in a span of 25 holes.

“Now I’ll have nothing to do but work on my game,” he said. “That’s going to be good. (Instructor) Sean (Foley) and I haven’t had the opportunity to really sit down and do a lot of work, so this will be our time.”

Woods’ explanation of his problems also was more of the same. His approach shots went too far because he’s not used to compressing the ball so much. His sight lines are off because he’s used to curving the ball more.

So Job 1 would seem to be making those adjustments.

“It’s a step back in the sense I didn’t make the cut and I’m not contending,” he said. “But it’s a giant leap forward in that I played two straight weeks healthy. That’s great for our practice sessions coming up.”

Woods did show signs of life, or flashes from the past, at various times Friday. He made four birdies again and could’ve made more. After the two double bogeys, he drove into yet another right fairway bunker at 13 but hit his approach to 3 feet and birdied. After missing a 9-foot birdie putt at 14, he rolled in a 25-footer for a deuce at the difficult 236-yard 15th. Then he missed a 12-foot uphill birdie putt at 16.

“I showed signs that I can hit the ball exactly the way I know I can,” Woods said. “Unfortunately I just didn’t do it enough times.”

Davis Love III, the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, watched him for two days as a playing competitor and apparently saw a little spark, particularly late.

“I don’t think he’s that far off, but he’s rusty,” Love said. “That’s what people don’t get.

“For Tiger to try to figure it out at a big event doesn’t work. I’ve tried to do that. It’d be easier at the John Deere (Classic), where there are some (wider) fairways. You can’t play out of the fairway bunkers here.”

Indeed, you can’t.

Woods proved it over and over.

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