Woods in jeopardy of missing another cut

The last two years, Tiger Woods was gone before The Players

Championship ended because of injuries.

This time, it might be from his golf.

The TPC Sawgrass got the best of Woods again on Thursday when he

couldn’t give himself birdie chances with a wedge in his hand, had

only one birdie on the par 5s and wound up with a 2-over 74.

Woods once went nearly eight years without missing the cut. Now

he’s in danger of missing the cut for the second straight week.

”It certainly wasn’t the most positive start,” Woods said.

”Any kind of momentum that I would build, I would shoot myself in

the foot on the very next hole. Just one of those days.”

Woods is a notoriously slow starter on the Stadium Course. In

his 15th year at The Players Championship, he has yet to break 70

in the opening round. In this case, however, conditions were ideal

for scoring under warm sunshine, with the wind not picking up until

the middle of the round.

Ian Poulter opened with a 65, and 13 other players from the

morning wave shot in the 60s.

Woods was never under par at any time in his round, and he

traded bogeys with birdies around the turn. From a fairway bunker

on the 15th, he pulled it left of a bunker and took two shots to

reach the green. After a birdie on the island-green 17th, Woods was

in the fairway on the 18th when he came up short and to the right,

leading to another bogey.

Perhaps the most troublesome part of the round occurred when he

was 108 yards away on the first hole and wound up with a bogey. His

wedge came up short and with spin, catching the slope and rolling

off the green, and he took three putts from there. After his lone

birdie on a par 5 at No. 2, he went long of the green going after a

back pin and was left a difficult up-and-down. Another bogey.

There was a collection of everything that wasn’t quite right –

poor wedges from the fairway, mediocre chipping, not making nearly

enough putts.

”I just didn’t score,” Woods said. ”The best shot I hit all

day was on 3, and it ended up in a spot where I really couldn’t

play from. It was frustrating in the sense that my good shots ended

up in bad spots, and obviously, my bad shots ended up in worse

spots.”

Woods withdrew in the middle of the final round at the 2010

Players Championship with what turned out to be a neck injury. A

year ago, he stopped after a 42 on the front nine with an injury to

his Achilles tendon that kept him out of golf until August.

At least he has his health. Now if he can only find some

form.

It extends a peculiar stretch for Woods – withdrawing from Doral

in the middle of the final round with tightness in his Achilles

tendon, a five-shot win at Bay Hill two weeks later, his worst

performance as a pro at the Masters (tie for 40th), then a missed

cut by one shot at the Wells Fargo Championship.

When asked the problem between taking his game from the practice

range to the first tee, Woods replied, ”It’s golf.”

”Just be patient with it. Just keep plugging along,” he said.

”Obviously, in the last few months I’ve put together some good

rounds, won a couple of tournaments. So it’s there. I just need to

continue doing it.”

The goal is to be able to continue doing it on the weekend, and

he’ll need a good round Friday to simply make the cut.