Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Tiger heads home after major trauma

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods hit another low as he crashed out of the USPGA Championship with his worst performance in a major.

The former world number one, who needed a top-14 finish to make the FedEx Cup play-offs starting later this month, was not even in the top 114 after adding a 73 to his error-strewn opening 77 at Atlanta Athletic Club. It is just the third time in 56 majors as a professional he has missed the halfway cut.

Woods did have two rounds of 76 in the 2006 US Open, which came shortly after his father's death, but his finishing position there was only 82nd. This time it was joint 116th. He said: "I got some time off again. Now I'll have nothing to do but work on my game."

When the 14-major winner - whose last victory anywhere came in November 2009 - followed a six on the 457-yard 11th with a seven at the 551-yard next it was the first time in his professional career he had recorded five double bogeys in a tournament.

On 10 over par he exited a massive 15 strokes behind surprise leaders Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley. The two Americans, ranked 80th and 108th in the world, were round in 65 and a best-of-the-day 64 and had taken over at the top from Steve Stricker.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy was left wishing he could have one shot again after he also returned a 73 and slipped eight off the pace, but it was not the stroke you might think. Rather than the moment he injured his right arm against a tree root on day one, it was his six-iron tee shot to the short 17th on his return.

Suffering from a strained tendon and thankfully nothing more serious, the 22-year-old US Open champion, his arm still bandaged, had moved only two strokes off third place when he came to his eighth hole of the day.

It came up short in the lake and by three-putting for a triple-bogey six McIlroy's hopes of a second major title this season suffered a huge blow.

"Even with a broken wrist I should be putting better than this," he said. "There were a couple of points where I thought it might have been better to walk in, but I wanted to play through and I felt like I'm hitting the ball okay.

"When I woke up (on Friday) morning (after a hospital scan revealed no tear) it was stiff, but it wasn't as painful."

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