A maiden trip to Royal Portrush fizzled out for Tiger Woods, who focused on a chance for a break after missing the cut in a major for the second time this year.
By Will Gray
Tiger Woods' first trip to Royal Portrush is officially over, and now the Masters champ is ready to take a break.
Woods has played sparingly since his victory at Augusta National this spring, and The Open represented his first start since last month's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. But a family vacation combined with some down time wasn't the answer for Woods, who shot a 1-under 70 in the second round that couldn't undo the disastrous damage inflicted by an opening 78.
"It's more frustrating than anything else, because this is a major championship and I love playing in these events," Woods said. "I love the atmosphere. I love just the stress of playing in a major."
While Woods birdied his opening hole Friday and at one point got back to 4 over for the week, his second round felt more like a formality than a genuine opportunity to play his way back into the mix. After closing out with two bogeys to finish the week at 6-over 148, a resigned Woods expressed a desire for some down time despite the fact that this was just his fourth competitive start since April.
"I just want to get some time off, just to get away from it. I had a long trip to Thailand, and then trying to get ready for this event, to play this event, it's been a lot of travel," Woods said. "I just want to go home."
Woods also missed the cut at the PGA Championship in May, and this represents his first missed cut at The Open since 2015.
“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. ” tiger woods
Nearing his 44th birthday, Woods was open about the physical limitations of his surgically-fused back, along with the fact that he simply can't perform at a high level with the consistency he put forth during the prime of his career. But having held the lead with eight holes to go last year at Carnoustie en route to a T-6 finish, he couldn't rekindle the same magic one summer later in front of Northern Irish crowds that savored a rare opportunity to see him play in person.
Instead it'll be a sour note to a year in the majors that has had both plenty of highs and lows, with Woods' maiden voyage to Royal Portrush cut short.
"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," Woods said. "But there are times when I'm just not going to be there, and that wasn't the case 20-some-odd years ago."