Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Excuses for Tiger; Woods Refuses to Blame Father's Death or Lengthy Layoff for Poor Play

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Excuses for Tiger; Woods Refuses to Blame Father's Death or Lengthy Layoff for Poor Play

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

MAMARONECK, N.Y. - The lead changed hands several times Friday during the second round of the U.S. Open and events set the weekend stage for an intriguing mix of contenders at the Winged Foot Golf Club.

But the news wasn't about who will be here on the weekend. It was about who won't - the world's No. 1-ranked player who has dominated the sport for the last decade.

Tiger Woods did not make the cut for the first time in 40 major championship starts. Missing fairways, chopping balls out of the deep rough and striking putts with inconsistent rhythm and pace, Woods shot a 76 for the second day in a row and at 12-over 152, missed the cut by three shots.

When asked how he felt after he made bogey on each of his last two holes to assure him of an early departure, Woods replied: "I was not ready to play golf. It's not something you want to have happen."

Woods had not played competitive golf in nine weeks, mostly due to the illness and death of his father, Earl Woods. His last start had been the Masters, where he tied for third.

Woods had made the cut in each of his 37 major championship starts as a pro, and the last two he played in 1996 as an amateur, giving him 39 in a row.

The record for the most cuts made in the majors doesn't appear in the PGA Tour or United States Golf Association record books; nor in other golf reference books. Research by the media relations staffs of the USGA and PGA Tour on site found that Jack Nicklaus made 39 major cuts in a row during one stretch of his career, leaving the two best players of each era tied for a record that currently is unofficial.

When Woods was last absent on the weekend of a major championship, at the 1996 Masters, Bill Clinton was running for a second term as president, the Jaguars were preparing for their second season and Steve Spurrier was putting the finishing spring practice touches on the team that would win a national championship for the University of Florida.

Woods won 10 of those 39 majors and never finished outside of the top 40. Bookended by the 1997 Masters title and last year's British Open championship, Woods was the major storyline and center of attention in almost every major. …

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