Friday 24 November 2017

Tiger rues 'dumb mistakes' after missing cut on comeback

Tiger Woods. Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Tiger Woods. Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

William S Callahan

Tiger Woods played a version of the 'pain game' over the first 36 holes of his comeback to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines.

Physically, Woods managed to play the two rounds in the Farmers Insurance Open without showing any signs of reaction to his 17 month absence due to back problems which required three operations.

But pain, for one whose stellar career may never be matched by even the best of the current generation such as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and certainly not by injury-prone Jason Day, comes in different guises.

Mental and emotional scar tissue that has built up during his long absence from competitive golf was not helped by his missing the cut.

A first round 76 on the South Course was followed by a level par 72 yesterday on the North Course for a four-over par total and an unwelcome weekend off.

The 14-time Major champion certainly did not go to Torrey Pines just to make up the numbers and his disappointment was palpable.

"It's frustrating not being able to have a chance to win the tournament. I didn't make the cut.

"You know, overall today was a lot better than yesterday. I hit it better. I putted well again. I hit a lot of beautiful putts that didn't go in, but I hit it much better today, which was nice," he said. The course management aspect will take time to bed in, he admitted.

"You saw it at Hero (World Challenge), I made so many dumb mistakes out there. I made plenty of birdies there, but a lot of dumb mistakes.

"Playing tournament golf is a little bit different from playing with your buddies at home in a cart.

"I need to get more rounds under my belt and more playing time and that's what I'm trying to do," said Woods.

He was not alone in disappointment as his marquee group playing partners Dustin Johnson (74) and Jason Day (74) also missed the cut on two-over and three over respectively.

Shane Lowry and Seamus Power (South Course) and Padraig Harrington (North Course) were among the later starters in round two.

Lowry made the weekend right on the cut mark despite a body blow with a triple-bogey seven on the fourth hole, his 13th, after a horrible four-putt. That moved him to one-over par for the tournament. A birdie four on the sixth, his 15th, got Lowry back on track and he closed with 73 for level par overall.

Harrington missed the cut, shooting 74 for a four-over total. Seamus Power also bowed out on two over. The Waterford man's round hit the rocks with bogey and double bogey on his 11th and 12 holes

At the business end of the leaderboard, Olympic champion Justin Rose took sole control with a 71 for eight-under. Holder Brandt Snedeker and Canda's Adam Hadwin were joint second on seven-under.

Meanwhile Paul Dunne clung onto the coat tails of a bunch of nine players who jointly led the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters after 36 holes.

Dunne's solid 70 for seven-under par left him technically just a shot off the lead, but with the top nine on the eight-under mark, and six others with him at -7, the Greystones man needs to keep the pedal to the floor in today's third round.

This was the first time nine players were tied for the lead in European Tour history.

The record setters were Mikko Korhonen (Finland), Jorge Campillo and Elvira Nacho of Spain; Bradley Dredge (Wales), South Africans Thomas Aiken and Jaco Van Zyl, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), England's Andy Sullivan and Jeunghun Wang (South Korea).

Ernie Els was two shots off the lead after a second round of 70, but former US Open champion Graeme McDowell could only add a 75 to his opening 66 to finish one shot inside the cut on three under.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Live, Sky Sports 4, 9.0am

Farmers Insurance Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0pm

Irish Independent

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