FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Illness kept Tiger Woods from coming to Bethpage Black on the eve of the PGA Championship. He won’t be there on Saturday or Sunday, either.
Woods couldn’t find a fairway Friday and shot 73 to miss the cut in the PGA Championship for the fourth time in his career. This is his ninth missed cut in 76 majors as a pro. Woods’ 5-over 145 (72-73) was one stroke too high to earn a weekend tee time.
“I just don’t feel well and just not able to do it,” said Woods, who ranks 18th in the FedExCup.
The PGA Championship was Woods’ first start since winning the Masters, and his first opportunity to tie Sam Snead’s record for PGA TOUR victories (82). That pursuit, and Woods’ quest for his 16th major, will have to wait.
Many expected Woods to play the Wells Fargo Championship between Augusta National and Bethpage Black, but he said he wasn’t ready to tee it up at Quail Hollow because he was still relishing in his first major in more than a decade.
There were signs of rust in his opening round at Bethpage Black, where he won the 2002 U.S. Open, including two three-putts and two short wedge shots that air-mailed the green. He three-putted two more times Friday, but his driver was the biggest culprit. He missed his first six fairways Friday and hit just three in the round.
“I’ve enjoyed being the Masters champion again, and the PGA was a quick turnaround, and unfortunately I just didn’t play well,” Woods said. “I didn’t do all the little things I need to do correctly to post good scores and put myself in position to shoot good scores.”
Woods played alongside Brooks Koepka as Koepka put on a dominant performance that was reminiscent of Woods’ masterful play at Pebble Beach in 2000. Koepka beat Woods by 17 shots this week.
After starting his week on No. 10, Woods made two double-bogeys on his opening nine. He was able to get under par by playing Bethpage Black’s opening four holes in 4 under par, though. He gave back those strokes with three bogeys on his last five holes, but his ball-striking still looked solid on the first day.
His inability to hit fairways Friday kept him from taking advantage of Bethpage Black’s inviting early holes. He played Nos. 1-4 in 1 over par, five strokes higher than the previous day. That opening stretch features three of the four easiest holes on the course, including a short par-5 and the shortest par-4 on the course.
“I just wasn’t moving the way I needed to. That’s the way it goes. There’s going to be days and weeks where it’s just not going to work, and today was one of those days.”
He bogeyed the second hole before making his first birdie on No. 6. He bogeyed the next hole but made the turn in even-par after a birdie on 9. That started a six-hole stretch that featured two birdies and four bogeys.
He bogeyed the first three holes of the back nine before making birdie on the par-5 13th despite driving into a fairway bunker. He had his fourth three-putt of the week on the 14th, the shortest hole on the course, after hitting his 162-yard tee shot more than 50 feet from the hole. He needed a birdie on the final four holes but couldn’t make it happen. His last chance was a must-make chip from the fringe on 18, which he sent racing 5 feet past the hole. This week ended a streak of 14 consecutive cuts made that dated back to last year’s U.S. Open.
Woods didn’t say when he would make his next start, but he’s expected to play the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide on May 30-June 2. He’s a five-time winner at Muirfield Village.
“There’s no reason why I can’t get up to speed again and crank it back up,” Woods said. “I’ve got to start feeling a little bit better first before that happens. We’ll do that first and then start cranking it back up again.” �iJ�bB.E\�+