Finally, all the talk about Tiger Woods was mostly about his golf.
And it was more bad news.
In a shocking meltdown yesterday at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C., Woods missed the cut for only the sixth time in his career with a performance that was incomparable for all the wrong reasons.
He shot a 79, his worst score on American soil as a pro and the second-highest of his career. He matched his highest score on nine holes with a 43 on the back nine, and that was with three solid pars on the tough closing stretch. His 36-hole score of 153 was the highest in his 14 years on the PGA Tour.
Rust? Mechanics? Distractions from a personal life in turmoil?
“It is what it is,’’ Woods said. “Whatever it was, it wasn’t good enough.’’
Not even close.
He missed the cut by a whopping eight shots — and he was 17 shots behind 36-hole leader Billy Mayfair — and headed back to Florida as speculation mounts that being caught in rampant extramarital affairs has tarnished more than his image.
Making the performance even more surprising is that Woods was coming off a tie for fourth at the Masters three weeks ago, a remarkable result considering it was his first competition since a five-month hiatus created by his crisis at home.
Woods couldn’t make a putt, and he didn’t make any excuses about whether his private life is affecting his golf.
“Every day I do media, I get asked it, so it doesn’t go away,’’ he said. “Even when I’m at home paparazzi still follow us, helicopters still hover around. Does it test you? Yes, of course it does. Is that any excuse? No, because I’m out there and I have the same opportunity as everybody else here in this field to shoot a good number. And I didn’t do it.’’
Mayfair birdied his last hole for a 4-under-par 68 that gave him the halfway lead at 8-under 136. He led by one shot over Angel Cabrera, who had a 67 while playing the last two days with Woods.
J.P. Hayes matched the course record at Quail Hollow with a 64 and was in the group at 138 with Masters champion Phil Mickelson (68), Dustin Johnson (65), and Paul Goydos (70).
There were good scores yesterday, just not by the world’s No. 1 player.
Instead of making birdies, he was making consecutive double bogeys — a flop shot that ran through the green and into the water on the 14th, and a four-putt from 30 feet on the next hole, the last three putts from inside 4 feet. He ran his 30-foot attempt about 3 1/2 feet by the hole, caught the lip with his par putt, then rapped a 30-inch putt that spun around the cup.
Woods only hit two fairways, none after the fourth hole.
This was Woods’s first time playing at a regular PGA Tour event with public ticket sales, and the crowd was gracious as ever with a few exceptions. Two fans, including a woman, held thumbs-down as Woods walked off the 15th green. Police also escorted away a fan who apparently heckled Woods as he left the 17th green. A friend of the fan, who declined to give his name, said the fan only said, “No red shirt for you on Sunday.’’
It was the first time Woods missed a cut since the British Open last summer at Turnberry, and the first time at a regular PGA Tour event since the
Woods holds the PGA Tour record for 142 consecutive tournaments making the cut, which ended at the 2005 Byron Nelson Classic. He also missed the cut at the 1997 Canadian Open and the 2006 U.S. Open.
LPGA — Michelle Wie held her game together with the wind hollowing through the mountainside ravines at the Tres Marias Championship in Morelia, Mexico, shooting a 5-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead.
Brittany Lincicome (67) and Ai Miyazato (72) were tied for second.
But the gusts and the emotional ups-and-downs got to Lorena Ochoa, who fell five strokes off the pace with a 73 in her farewell tournament. This is the last event for the top-ranked Ochoa, under some pressure to deliver a victory for her adoring fans in Mexico.
“I’ll take it I guess with these conditions,’’ Ochoa said. “With all the emotions I am going through and the adrenaline it’s been a little bit tough.’’
It could have been even better for Wie, who pulled off a spectacular birdie on the 541-yard 16th, but then stumbled with two bogeys.
She hit a booming drive downwind on 16 — father B.J. Wie estimated it at 380 yards — but hit an 8-iron approach from 165 yards over the green into loose gravel. She chipped out, but knocked it across the green into a bunker. She then holed out from 70 feet, lifting both arms skyward to celebrate the shot.
Champions — Bob Tway and 63-year-old Leonard Thompson shot 5-under 67s to share the first-round lead in the inaugural Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in Saucier, Miss.