Another major championship, another disappointment for Tiger Woods.
Although he shot a respectable 70 at Royal Portrush Golf Club on Friday, it wasn’t enough to make up for his 78 in the opening round. He was six over par after the first two days of the British Open, well above the projected one-over cut line.
It marks the seventh missed cut for him in 13 majors dating to 2014.
“It’s more frustrating than anything else because this is a major championship and I love playing in these events,” said Woods, who won the Masters in April. “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 and was able to do it. But the other three, I didn’t do very well.”
Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship and tied for 21st at the U.S. Open.
According to ESPN, this will be the first time that Woods and Mickelson have missed the cut in the same major. In the previous 82 majors in which they both played, at least one of them made the cut. Mickelson is nine over with two holes to play.
Despite his frustration, Woods said this stretch isn’t close to what he endured with injuries and disappointments a few years ago.
“You can’t compare the two,” he said. “Those were some of the lowest times in my life. This is not. This is just me not playing well and not scoring well, and adds up to high scores.”
That said, he plans to regroup for a few weeks before playing again.
“I just want some time off to get away from it,” he said. “I had a long trip to Thailand, and then trying to get ready for this event, to play in 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.”
Quality time: Lee Westwood is tied for third heading into the weekend, and his girlfriend, Helen Storey, deserves a bit of the credit.
She’s his caddie.
In September, at the Made In Denmark tournament, Westwood gave usual caddie Billy Foster a week off and instead gave the job to Storey. The English golfer had one of his best performances of the year.
Another opportunity presented itself this week, so Westwood again turned to Storey, who for the first time is working for him at a major. She’s not a big golfer.
“Obviously I get on well with Helen,” said Westwood, who shot a 68 and 67, respectively. “She doesn’t know too much about golf, but she knows a lot about the way my mind works. So she keeps me in a good frame of mind and focusing on the right things at the right time. There’s more to the caddying than carrying and getting the wind direction. “I enjoy doing it all myself. Get the yardage, pull the club, it’s all my responsibility, and I’m a hundred percent clear in my mind what I’m doing.”
Their conversations on the course aren’t typical for a pro and caddie.
Westwood said they talk about: “Dinner. Where we’re going on holiday. Whether there’s a nail file in the bag.”
Off target: Brooks Koepka can crush the ball, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s not happy with the way he’s rolling it — even though he’s in strong contention to win his fifth major.
“I didn’t make a putt all week,” said Koepka, who had 58 putts in the first two rounds, about the field average. “I just need to figure that out. If I can make some putts, I could very easily be 10 under and really maybe more.”
Still, he’s tied for ninth at five under, a strong position heading into the weekend.
Koepka said his putting at Portrush is reminiscent of his play at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach last month, when, despite finishing second, he wasn’t as sharp on the greens as he’d have liked.
“It’s about the same feel,” he said. “I feel like sometimes the putts haven’t gone in, and other times they’re terrible putts. So I don’t know, just try to clean it up and make sure it’s more consistent this weekend.”