Tiger fires strange 73, misses Wells Fargo cut

Tiger Woods during Round 2 of the Wells Fargo Championship.

Tiger Woods during Round 2 of the Wells Fargo Championship.

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7:24:01 AM ET. 04/24/2014




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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Good luck determining the most unusual thing about Tiger Woods’ round Friday in the Wells Fargo Championship.

Maybe it was that during the second round, the former World No. 1 hit more fairways with his driver (four) than his 2-iron (one) at Quail Hollow.

Or it could have been that his badly misjudged third shot into the par-5 seventh didn’t tumble into the water but instead stayed, improbably, on the rock retaining wall.

Perhaps it was that Woods shot 73 and missed only the eighth cut of his career, his first since last August.

Yes, those events were unusual. Even bizarre. But they paled to what transpired on the par-5 fifth Friday, Woods’ 14th hole of the day, when a hooked second shot turned into a game of Clue.

Who says Woods isn’t a man of the people? He kicked leaves and sifted through pine straw with hundreds of spectators for five minutes, a single Tour security guard at his side. No Nike ball turned up. Woods gave a despairing shrug. The situation seemed dire. Already in danger of missing the cut, if he declared the ball lost he’d need to go back to the fairway ... 261 yards away ... to play his fourth shot. Then local man Thomas Crosby stepped forward, claiming that, no, hold on, he saw the ball fly through a tree some 60 yards left of the green and settle in the pine straw.

Then, Crosby said, “Twelve people came toward the ball and went off that way in a hurry.” He pointed away from the green. “They had the ball. It had to be.”

They called for a rules official. Mark Russell entered the fray. He asked the crowd: “Did anyone else see the ball at any time?”

A few fans chimed in that, yes, they had, so Russell ruled that Woods could receive a free drop in the trees. As Russell explained later: “One gentleman specifically told me, ‘I saw the ball hit right here, I saw it bounce, it didn’t look like it was going far, and then I saw several people come around and get around the ball where it was going, and the ball vanished.’ ... Based on the evidence we had, somebody must have picked the ball up, the way I see it.”

So, Tiger dropped in the pine straw, flopped onto the green and walked off with a ho-hum par.

Of course, the debate over the free drop was rendered moot when Woods failed to birdie the par-5 seventh, lipped out a 4-foot birdie putt on 8 and left his long birdie bid on the last hole some 5 feet short. It amounted to a second-round 73, an even-par 144, an early exit. It also amounted to the most dramatic missed cut of his career.

Only five weeks removed from his drought-busting victory at Bay Hill, the questions regarding the state of Woods’ game grow longer still. Was his performance at Arnie’s Place merely an aberration? Why haven’t his swing changes taken hold? Where does he go from here?

Said Geoff Ogilvy, who played with Woods and Webb Simpson during the first two rounds: “I think he’s playing all right. That sounds silly because he used to play bad and win tournaments. But I think there’s a lot of good stuff in there.

“He hit a lot of good drives that I don’t think he was hitting a while back. His putting is not where it was. ... I would say that he wasn’t very far away. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went and contended next week because it looks like he’s hitting the ball well.”

Having appeared so in control of his game, so dominant, Woods now has posted the worst pro finish of his Masters career (T-40) and another clunker in Charlotte in his past two starts. How, he was asked, can that happen? How can he still be uncomfortable over the ball?

“It takes time to get rid of old patterns,” Woods said. “It takes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of golf balls, but eventually it comes around. I’ve had my share of successes, and I know it’s coming.”

Now, of course, Woods heads to the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, where he hasn’t won since 2001 and has just one top-10 finish in his past nine starts there. In Charlotte, Woods hit only half the fairways (14 of 28), missed 10 greens and required 62 putts, including 33 Friday.

“I’ve had my share of missed cuts in the past,” Woods said, “and they don’t feel good.”

• • •

Check out how his round unfolded on Friday with our Tiger Tracker (assembled by the Golfweek staff):

No. 9, Par 4, 491 yards

This is Tiger's last chance for a chance at making the cut, and he will need to birdie and then get some help from the afternoon wave.

Off the tee: Tiger takes driver and hammers it down the fairway.

Approach shot: Tiger hits the green but comes up 49 feet short of the flag.

On the green: Tiger leaves his birdie attempt 5 feet short, meaning he won't be around for the weekend for the third consecutive year (missed cut in 2010 and didn't play in 2011). He makes the par putt to earn a ninth straight par to finish his round.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for the tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: After an 8-under 64, Nick Watney holds a one-shot lead over Webb Simpson, who carded a 4-under 68.

• • •

No. 8, Par 4, 343 yards

While Tiger fights with the cutline, Nick Watney is now the solo leader at 12 under, one shot ahead of Webb Simpson, Ben Crane and Stewart Cink.

Off the tee: Playing the drivable par 4, Tiger tees up on the extreme left side of the tee box and hammers a driver, landing close to the green.

Approach shot: Tiger couldn't have placed this in a better spot, looking at only 30 yards to the pin from the fairway. And he plays a really nice pitch to about 4 feet.

On the green: His birdie putt lips out and he settles for an eighth consecutive par. He is now in serious danger of missing the eighth cut of his professional career.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 7, Par 5, 532 yards

Tiger simply can't let another par 5 go by if he hopes to play this weekend.

Off the tee: Tiger uses driver and puts it on the edge of the grass and fairway bunker, where he'll have limited options on his stance.

Second shot: Because of the awkward stance, Tiger is only able to punch it forward by about 100 yards, giving him a wedge shot into the green, where the hole is tucked close to the water on the right and short.

Approach shot: Tiger leaves it short and flirts with the water. His ball hangs up on the rock wall short of the green.

Around the green: He turns his putter toe down and pops the ball out of the rock bank and it trickles onto the green. He buries a 20-footer for par to somehow to stay a shot away from the cutline.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 6, Par 3, 250 yards

Tiger will need to finish strong to avoid missing the cut again at this even - he missed the cut in 2010. He has only missed a cut six times since turning pro in 1996, and has never before missed it twice at the same event.

Off the tee: Tiger takes dead aim at the flag, but his ball flies right over it and he will have about 25 feet for birdie.

On the green: Tiger has to be careful with the putt, and lags it close before tapping in for another par. He now has six pars in a row on his final nine, and will need at least one birdie over his final three holes to have a realistic shot at making the cut.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Nick Watney and Stewart Cink share the lead at 12 under, while Webb Simpson is one shot back and Ben Crane is two shots behind.

• • •

No. 5, Par 5, 570 yards

Tiger moves to the first true scoring hole on the front nine, and will need to make a move quickly to get inside the cutline.

Off the tee: Tiger pulls 3-wood for the first time and plays a big draw to find the fairway.

Second shot: Tiger hits a massive hook with his second shot - it looks almost like a double-cross - and that will leave him with an interesting shot to the flag on the left. That is, if they can find his ball. If not, this might end Tiger's week.

Third shot: When no one can find the ball, Tiger is allowed to drop near the green with no penalty. He pitches on.

On the green: Tiger two-putts to save par and potentially stay in this tournament.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for the tournament)

• • •

No. 4, Par 4, 489 yards

Ben Crane has joined a group of four players at 10 under, one shot back of leader Stewart Cink. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is fighting just to get to the cutline.

Off the tee: Tiger pulls driver and lands it just off the fairway and in the right rough. He removes his cap and scratches his head.

Approach shot: Tiger tugs his second shot to the left and about 50 feet away from the flag.

On the green: With one of his better putting efforts of the day, Tiger's long birdie attempt slides by on the low side, but he taps in for a par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for the tournament)

• • •

No. 3, Par 4, 452 yards

Stewart Cink and Nick Watney have vaulted into the lead at 11 under, one shot ahead of Ryan Moore and Webb Simpson. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy is 2 under on his round and is now at 4 under for the tournament.

Off the tee: Tiger changes his glove and hits iron. It's a mis-hit with a one-arm follow through, but the ball barely finds the left rough and he will have to play a big hook to reach the green.

Approach shot: Tiger hits a fantastic shot to about 20 feet, playing the hook perfectly.

On the green: Tiger's birdie attempt comes to rest a few inches to the right of the hole and he taps in for another par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for the tournament)

• • •

No. 2, Par 3, 178 yards

Tiger picked up birdie at No. 2 on Thursday.

Off the tee: After a long wait on the tee, Tiger's shot winds up about 30 feet short of the flag and he'll have a putt straight up the ridge.

On the green: The birdie attempt never finds the right line and it is another tap-in par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 1, Par 4, 410 yards

Tiger picked up bogey on No. 1 on Thursday with some problems around the green.

Off the tee: With iron in hand, Tiger finds the right rough. It isn't a good sign when he misses with his irons off the tee, he'll likely need to grind to make this cut.

Approach shot: Tiger finds the front bunker with his approach and then splashes out to a few feet.

On the green: Tiger taps in for a par to reverse his fortunes on the hole from the day before.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 18, Par 4, 478 yards

Back in red figures, Tiger moves to the toughest hole on the course.

Off the tee: Tiger pushes his 2-iron to the right, but gets relief from a drainage ditch. Upon dropping, the ball sits down in the rough and Tiger looks away in disgust.

Approach shot: His second shot comes up just short of the green, but stays out of trouble. He has a straightforward chip to the green.

Third shot: For the third time in two days, Tiger basically flubs a chip and leaves it 15 feet short of the cup.

On the green: Tiger hits his par putt a bit too hard and it rims out, leading him to his third bogey on his opening nine holes to make the turn at 1-over 37. He'll need to at least go 2 under on his final nine holes to make the cut.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 17, Par 3, 217 yards

Tiger heads to the course's signature hole, which is also dangerous with water lining the front. Meanwhile, Ryan Moore and Webb Simpson are tied for the lead at 9 under.

Off the tee: After a long wait on the tee, Tiger hits mid-iron to about 20 feet right of the flag.

On the green: Tiger drains the birdie putt to get back into red figures and inside the projected cut line.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (1 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 16, Par 4, 480 yards

Tiger needs to hold steady for the final three holes of his first nine, as he has historically played Quail Hollow's first nine holes very well.

Off the tee: Tiger hammers a drive up the left side of the fairway, giving him a nice angle for his approach shot.

Approach shot: Tiger yells for it to bite immediately, but the shot lands nicely and he'll have 15 feet up the hill for birdie.

On the green: Another burned edge and Tiger has to settle for par. The frustration is starting to mount as the missed opportunities are piling up.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 15, Par 5, 566 yards

These are the holes that Tiger will need to take advantage of if he hopes to somehow get back into this tournament. At this point, he is 10 shots behind Ryan Moore, who has moved to 10 under for the tournament.

Off the tee: A day after taking iron off this tee, Tiger decides to use driver and he hammers it into the fairway. He'll have an iron into the green.

Second shot: Tiger has about 215 yards to the flag and flies into a greenside bunker on the left. The hole location is on the left, so he'll have very little green with which to work.

Third shot: There was no way to get the bunker shot close, so he plays it left to ride the slope in the green and leaves himself 15 feet for birdie.

On the green: Another missed opportunity for Tiger, as his birdie attempt slides by. He hasn't taken care of business on the par 5s on either day and will need to pick up some strokes soon if he simply wants to make the cut.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 14, Par 4, 346 yards

The next two holes present scoring opportunities for Tiger, and he is in desperate need of some birdies.

Off the tee: Tiger takes simple iron off the tee and puts it in the middle of the fairway to set up a short iron into the green.

Approach shot: A dangerous shot with the hole cut way in the back of the green and water looming long, but Tiger plays a nice wedge shot to about 8 feet.

On the green: Tiger's putting woes continue as he misses on the low side. He taps in for a disappointing par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 13, Par 3, 201 yards

As Tiger sputters around a bit, the lead continues to increase. Ryan Moore now is at 9 under after a birdie at No. 7.

Off the tee: The pin placement is accessible, but the wind is starting to kick up a bit and Tiger launches his shot to the back of the green. He'll have a downhill putt for birdie.

On the green: Tiger is a bit too careful with his birdie attempt and leaves it four feet short of the hole. He misses the par attempt over the right edge and picks up a second consecutive bogey.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Even for tournament)

• • •

No. 12, Par 4, 456 yards

While the deficit is still six shots, Tiger seems to have a better rhythm than he had Thursday.

Off the tee: Maybe we spoke a bit too quickly, as Tiger takes iron off the tee and rope-hooks it into the left trees.

Approach shot: With more than 200 yards left to the green, Tiger has to play from wet grass and hook it under and around two big trees. He nearly pulls it off, but it clips a branch about 75 yards ahead and the ball kicks left and skims along the rough, leaving him about 60 yards to the green.

Third shot: He takes little time before hitting to the green and hits it into the slope in the green. The ball rides to the back hole location, and settles about 20 feet from the hole.

On the green: Tiger gives back a shot, leaving his par attempt about a foot short.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (1 under for tournament)

• • •

No. 11, Par 4, 421 yards

That was not the way Tiger needed to start his round, going from a legitimate shot at birdie to a three-putt par. He continues to struggle on par 5s, showing shades of his performance at Augusta National.

Off the tee: Tiger hits a low 2-iron off the tee and tugs it a little left and into a fairway bunker, leaving a long shot into the green.

Approach shot: Tiger plays a brilliant shot out of the bunker, landing it about 3 feet from the flag.

On the green: Tiger buries his short birdie attempt, but so does Webb Simpson so Woods doesn't cut into the deficit.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (2 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: All three overnight leaders - Stewart Cink, Webb Simpson and Ryan Moore - are on the course. Cink has already dropped a shot, while Moore and Simpson have both moved to 8 under.

• • •

No. 10, Par 5, 591 yards

There are much cooler temps greeting the players this morning, with no wind, setting up ideal scoring conditions. Tiger is wearing a green shirt and dark grey slacks.

Off the tee: Tiger swats his tee ball - a driver - down the center of the fairway and then promptly begins munching on some sort of breakfast sandwich. Yep, it's early.

• Second shot: After out-driving his playing competitors by 40 yards, he takes a long iron and, after a favorable left kick, the ball trickles to the back edge of the green to set up an eagle attempt.

On the green: His eagle attempt runs 8 feet past the hole and then he misses the birdie comebacker and has to settle for a three-putt par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (1 under for tournament)

• • •

FIRST-ROUND COVERAGE

Winning on Tour next order of business for Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler already has poured a remarkable foundation in a short period of time. A PGA Tour victory is the next order of business for the young, entertaining player from California. Story.

• • •

Patrick Reed one shot off the lead at Wells Fargo

Patrick Reed went from Monday qualifying to the early leader at the Wells Fargo Championship, shooting 66 to share the first-round lead after the morning wave. Story.

• • •

Stewart Cink among veterans 'finding it' at Wells Fargo

Stewart Cink has a share of the lead. Rocco Mediate is gaining confidence. Arjun Atwal is just trying to make it to a weekend. On Thursday, all three showed signs of progress, says Jeff Babineau. Story.

• • •

Charlotte reunion helps Jeff Maggert regain old form

After Thursday's first round at Quail Hollow Club, where Jeff Maggert and Mark Miller reunited for the Wells Fargo Championship, it feels like old times for the pair. Notes.

• • •

PREVIEW COVERAGE

Stars turn out to amp up volume at Wells Fargo Championship

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy will make their first starts since the Masters at Wells Fargo. Story.

• • •

Phil Mickelson a fantasy favorite at Wells Fargo Championship

Fantasy Tip Sheet: Phil Mickelson returns to action for the first time since an unlikely shaky final round at the Masters, but our panel still thinks Lefty is a favorite this week. Tips.

• • •

Patrick Reed simply trying to make it on the PGA Tour

Patrick Reed dominated college golf as an All-American at Augusta State. Now, he bounces from qualifier to qualifier in an attempt to earn his Tour card, says Sean Martin. Story.

• • •

First round tee times and pairings

A look at the first-round tee times and pairings at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.. Tee times.

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