Tiger Woods recorded his worst ever score in the US PGA Championship as a successful battle to make the cut took a heavy toll at Southern Hills.
Woods only made the cut with a shot to spare courtesy of playing the final seven holes of his second round in two under, a brilliant effort which still left the 15-time major winner 12 shots off the lead.
The 46-year-old had nevertheless talked up his chances of making a surge through the field, citing the 63 shot by Bubba Watson on Friday as the kind of score which was possible.
However, while Webb Simpson showed that might be true with a 65, Woods had to play his last four holes in one under par simply to break 80 after making five bogeys in succession in a major for the first time in his professional career.
After holing from 13 feet to save par on the first, Woods drove into the creek which bisects the second hole and made a bogey five following a penalty drop, before finding more water on the par-three sixth.
Woods then missed the green with his third shot from the drop zone on his way to a triple-bogey six and dropped another shot on the next to slide further down the leaderboard.
The chilly weather was doing Woods no favours due to his extensive history of injuries and bogeys at the seventh and ninth – where he thinned his second shot into the face of a bunker – completed a miserable front nine of 41.
Four more bogeys to start the back nine left Woods in danger of recording his worst score in any major, his unwanted mark of 81 set in terrible weather in the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield.
Yet in typical fashion he refused to throw in the towel, holing from 35 feet for his first birdie of the day on the 15th and celebrating by sardonically holding one finger in the chilly air.
Three closing pars gave Woods a 79, his previous worst score in the US PGA being a 77 in the first round in 2011.
“I just didn’t play well,” Woods said. “I didn’t hit the ball very well and got off to not the start I needed to get off to. I thought I hit a good tee shot down two and ended up in the water, and just never really got any kind of momentum on my side.”
Asked if he would play Sunday’s final round, Woods added: “Well, I’m sore. I know that is for a fact. We’ll do some work and see how it goes.”
It had been, of course, an achievement for Woods to simply make the cut as he did at the Masters, the former world number one suffering severe leg injuries in a car accident in February last year.
Woods concedes he will never play a full tournament schedule again, but is determined to contest as many of the biggest events he can.
“I’m not going to be playing a lot of tournaments going forward,” Woods said after his second round.
“They’re going to be the biggest tournaments. I want to be able to play the major championships. I’ve always loved playing them.
“Coming back here to a place that I’ve had success (winning the 2007 US PGA), to play against the best players in the world, that’s what we all want to be able to do.
“Fortunately enough, I’m able to somehow do it. I’ve had a great PT (physical therapy) staff that have put Humpty-Dumpty back together.”
Six-time major winner Nick Faldo, commentating for CBS, revealed it takes several hours for Woods to get ready to play before every round.
“Physically and mentally it’s a brutal effort every day. I’m amazed he’s just grinding on,” Faldo said. “He’s not giving up, he’s giving 100 per cent on every shot.”
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