US PGA Championship 2015: Tiger Woods exits tournament early in another major flop

Third missed cut on the spin leaves American without any meaningful golf left

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods made it to the Saturday of another major but only to say goodbye.

He returned to Whistling Straits at 7am to complete the final five holes of his disrupted second round, and then it was back to Florida in the private jet to consider how to fill his time in the absence of any meaningful golf to play.

Woods had entered the second-tier Wyndham Championship next week as a fall-back option should he have needed the points to make the lucrative Fed Ex Play-offs next month. After a third missed cut on the spin at a major this season – on this occasion by four strokes after a second- round 73 – there is only futility in that. So his season is done and dusted by the second week of August.

Of the 10 tournaments contested this year, Woods has left early in half of them. His best finish was tied 17th at the Masters following an enforced hiatus to resolve the chipping issues that crippled his opening events of the season.

Though there have been episodic glimpses of form this summer, at the Greenbrier Classic and the Quicken Loans National, where at each he shot three rounds in the 60s, it has not transferred to the deeper fields of the major environs.  

Woods said he would decide in the next few days whether to play at the Wyndham. Failing that we won’t see him until the PGA Tour fires up again in October at the Open. There was some gallows humour about being back in Florida in time to watch the PGA Championship leaders tee off from his new sports bar, Woods Jupiter, and a brave face despite the lack of evidence to support his unremitting optimism.

“It just takes time. Unfortunately, I’m potentially missing out on the playoffs. But I still have a lot of golf left. We have got some other tournaments that I’m going to be playing in, plus overseas events. So there’s plenty of golf left to be played for the rest of the year. I guess the PGA Tour season may be coming to a close, but I still got plenty of golf to play around the world.

“I’m pleased at the way I’m starting to hit the golf ball. Now if I can start putting like I did today or what I did at Quicken Loans a couple of weeks ago, then we got something.”

The next time Woods tees it up in a major, at the Masters in April, he will be 40 years old. Not many golfing lives begin at that juncture.

While he was processing another failed campaign, the significant business of the day was unfolding.

Matt Jones, a 35-year-old journeyman from Australia, took his score to 11 under par over the closing  six holes to lead by two at the halfway stage from Jason Day, with Justin Rose one further back.

A total of 58 players, including Rose, were recalled to the course to finish rounds disrupted by a  sequence of brutal storms blowing across Wisconsin late on Friday  afternoon. The winds left many of the temporary structures in bits with debris scattered all about, including the pop-up broadcast studio erected behind the first tee.   

But such is the way of things in the first-world territory of major golf, you would not have known so much as a slate had come loose. The place looked what it had been for the first four days, a flawless links fantasy etched into the western shore of  Lake Michigan.

Rose was required to complete only one hole, albeit the beast of a par four that is the 520-yard 18th, for an impressive 67.

After that the Englishman had  six hours to kill before starting the third round in the penultimate group alongside David Lingmerth.

“The 18th is not a hole you love to sleep on. It is a very daunting tee shot. You know you have to put it in the fairway to make par there. I left myself a tough two putt and left myself a sneaky five or six footer to end, or start, the day well.

“Now I’ll go back to the hotel, and probably take a nap, two breakfasts, three lunches, a warm-up.

“I’m playing well, really since  Augusta, and I feel the last few weeks I’ve been knocking on the door and I’m in a great position going into the weekend,” he added.