Tiger Woods' hopes of qualifying for the season-ending Tour Championship continued to fade yesterday as the world number one failed to charge up the BMW Championship leaderboard after carding a one-over-par 72.
For the second consecutive day a struggling Woods failed to break par on a Cog Hill layout he once owned, winning five times including his last PGA Tour triumph a year ago.
Woods reached the halfway mark yesterday on three-over 145. Despite his struggles, Woods has refused to wave the white flag on his chances of a top-five finish at the BMW which would give him a place in the Tour Championship's elite 30-man field.
But if the American hopes to tee it up in Atlanta in two weeks' time, he will have to quickly find the magical form that has deserted him in the aftermath of his divorce and a swing overhaul that remains a work in progress. "I made nothing today," Woods said. "That pretty much sums it up. I hit the ball a hell of a lot better than my score indicates. I had a lot of putts inside 15 feet and I think I made one there on the last hole and that was it. I just haven't made a lot of putts out there this week."
While much of his game has gone missing, Woods has not lost his competitive fire, delivering when forced to produce a result each week to keep advancing through the FedEx Cup playoffs. He began the Deutsche Bank Championship anchored near the bottom of the leaderboard after going four-over through his opening six holes but finished the weekend closer to the top in a tie for 11th allowing him to enter the BMW.
Playing the back nine first on a sunny late summer morning at Cog Hill, Woods looked ready to make a big move by going two-under after eight holes. But that is as good as it got for Woods, his rally fizzling out with bogeys at the 18th and third followed by a double-bogey at the fifth before he signed off with a birdie at the last.
"I'm just trying to post good numbers, hit good shots, and place the ball accordingly on the correct side of the fairways, correct side of the greens, and go from there," added Woods.
However Paul Casey is in position in Chicago to make his exclusion from the Ryder Cup look a huge mistake by Colin Montgomerie.
Casey, overlooked for a wild card despite being the world number nine, yesterday repeated his opening 69 to be in joint second place, only two behind early clubhouse leader Charlie Wi. The 33-year-old, joined on four under par by fellow Englishman Ian Poulter, has not shot higher than 72 in the past month and describes himself as "in a good place right now."
That was not the case two weeks ago when he realised he had not been picked by Montgomerie while playing with Padraig Harrington, who had been. "It's done and dusted. You've got to get over things pretty quickly – I got over it pretty quickly. I've had a lot of conversations, even with the guys who have been picked by Corey [Pavin, USA captain].
Casey has also spoken with European Tour chief executive George O'Grady and says he has been "relaying messages" with Montgomerie. "Monty is a friend. He was in a very difficult position."