By Simon Evans
PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (Reuters) – A battling Tiger Woods rediscovered some of the old magic at the British Open on Friday but the American will be packing for home after failing to make the cut at Royal Portrush.
The 15-times major champion carded a one-under 70 but failed to repair the damage of Thursday when he struggled with back pain and shot an ugly 78.
Woods, who won the last of his three British Opens in 2006, made four birdies in his first 11 holes and looked to be in with a shout of surviving until the weekend.
He birdied the first and the smile returned as he rolled in another at the sixth. A bogey at the seventh halted his momentum but he birdied 10 and 11 to get the fans roaring.
It was always a long shot though, with the cut expected to be at around one over, and as the rain closed in so Woods’ hopes vanished with bogeys at the 17th and 18th.
“It’s more frustrating than anything else because this is a major championship and I love playing in these events,” said Woods.
“I love the atmosphere. I love just the stress of playing in a major. And unfortunately, I’ve only had a chance to win one of them (this year) and was able to do it. But the other three I didn’t do very well,” he added.
Woods said that he had to accept that his days of being a consistent threat were now behind him.
“That’s one of the hardest things to accept as an older athlete is that you’re not going to be as consistent as you were at 23. Things are different,” he said.
“I’m going to have my hot weeks. I’m going to be there in contention with a chance to win, and I will win tournaments. But there are times when I’m just not going to be there. And that wasn’t the case 20-some-odd years ago. I had a different body and I was able to be a little bit more consistent.”
The American said his next task was getting ready for the playoff stage of the PGA Tour season but that he needed a break first.
“I just want some time off just to get away from it. I had a long (vacation) trip to Thailand and then trying to get ready for this event, to play this event, it’s been a lot of travel, a lot of time in the air, a lot of moving around and different hotels and everything. I just want to go home,” he said.
Great rival Phil Mickelson is also in danger of missing the cut and if he does it would be the first time in the 83 majors in which they have both competed that both missed the weekend.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)