Tiger Woods fails to make the cut at PGA Championship… but perhaps it is a blessing

It was 2.49pm by the time Tiger Woods finally took to the first tee in a gray Louisville, Kentucky, Friday. The rain had thinned to mere specks and the drama of the morning had begun to somewhat subside.

And it was that eventful morning that once again saw the fates – and the tee times – work against the 48-year-old.

A tragic fatal accident at the gates of Valhalla Golf Club, which claimed the life of a tournament worker, followed by one of the most surreal moments in the sport’s history, the arrest of Scottie Scheffler, meant that tee times were delayed by one hour and 20 minutes.

It assured that play would not finish before the sun set on the second round – and on Woods’ hopes of his fifth PGA Championship win.

Woods managed to sneak into the clubhouse before the last rays of light faded but while his quest to make another cut started late, it was over early.

Tiger Woods carded a six-over 72 in the second round of the PGA Championship Friday

It saw the legend finish seven-over for the tournament and miss the cut at the major

Due to a delayed start at Valhalla Golf Club, the 15-time major winner did not start until 2.49pm

Some of the biggest roars were once again for the Big Cat but those faithful supporters who precariously trudged through the mud in a desperate effort to keep their footing did not have a front seat to yet another Tiger magic show. Woods’ pursuit of the cut was effectively over after just four holes.

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Starting the day one-over-par, a triple bogey-bogey-triple bogey run through the second, third, and fourth delivered a crushing blow, one that floored him all the way down the leaderboard.

Back-to-back birdies at the seventh and eighth were a testament to his relentless grind but the damage was already done and two more dropped shots on the back nine saw the unattainable cut line become impossible.

Woods finished with a flourish, as a birdie at 18 offered a glimpse of the player who put himself on track to become the greatest in history here at Valhalla in 2000. But his scorecard was not a reflection of the hotshot of days gone by. He finished seven-over – eight shots off the cut mark and 19 back of leader Xander Schauffele.

But it was a blessing that Woods’ major was put to bed Friday, instead of dragging his suffering out any further.

Will we ever see the Big Cat on the prowl again? If you ask him, the answer is always yes.

‘Just keep fighting,’ Woods said when asked how he continues to grind. ‘Keep the pedal on, keep fighting, keep grinding, keep working hard at posting the best score that I can possibly post today. That’s all I can do. It’s going to be a lot, but I’m going to fight until the end.

‘Unfortunately, I just haven’t played a whole lot of tournaments, and not a whole lot of tournaments on my schedule either. Hopefully everything will somehow come together in my practice sessions at home and be ready for Pinehurst.’

Woods made triple bogey-bogey-triple bogey through the second, third, and fourth holes

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Back-to-back birdies at the seventh and eighth were a testament to his relentless grind

Woods can fight all he likes but if the gods of golf exist, he’s not in their favor.

The universe is always working against him. During his last two major appearances – both at Augusta – Woods has been forced to play more than 18 holes in one day.

And while Valhalla is the setting of a storied chapter of his legend, this recent era of history did not bode well.

Last month, he stood at the top of the slope at the 15th at Augusta battling the wind and the cut mark to complete a historic conquest of 24 consecutive cuts at The Masters. His reward for penning himself into Masters legend once again? 82 blows, every one as bruising as the next, to card his worst ever score on that hallowed ground the following day.

Last year, he also fought for the right to continue pushing his ravaged body through the pain barrier for a full 72 holes by playing 25 holes in a day. The reward for his agony that time? The torture of heavily limping through the torrential rain that fell in sheets over Augusta as the bitter cold gnawed at his leg before being forced to admit defeat.

Each time making the cut for Woods has become golf’s equivalent of the Odyssey. The weather, tee times, light, injury, age and even unforeseen circumstances forever conspiring against him.

It was a stark reminder that this isn’t the Tiger Woods who came back for an extra three holes to outduel Bob May in a playoff at Valhalla in 2000. No, the Tiger at Valhalla this week is one who has to scrape the rust off his game just to complete 18 holes.

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The 15-time major winner headed into the clubhouse knowing his tournament was over

So, perhaps it was a saving grace that he doesn’t have to suffer the same fate Saturday.

His desire and hunger to push his body ravaged by time, misadventure and the relentless pursuit of greatness through the considerable pain in his limbs and joints is nothing short of inspirational.

It is what separates him from his rivals. It is what makes him the iron man of golf. And it is what makes him the greatest.

But while it used to be a tale that elicited admiration, now it also elicits a twinge of sympathy.

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