Tiger Woods: Fifteen-time major champion unsure on US Open future after missed cut at Pinehurst No 2 | Golf News

Tiger Woods has admitted his US Open career could be coming to an end after a disappointing missed cut at Pinehurst No 2.

The three-time US Open champion needed a special exemption from the USGA in order to play in this year’s contest, the first time in his professional career he has failed to qualify for a major on his own merit, and he subsequently struggled to rounds of 74 and 73 in North Carolina.

Woods ended the week on seven over and facing a second successive major missed cut, having also made an early exit at the PGA Championship last month after finishing last of those who made it through to the weekend at The Masters.

The 15-time major champion holds a lifetime exemption to The Masters and the PGA Championship and can play at The Open until he is 60, although he currently does not qualify automatically for the US Open.

When asked whether this year’s US Open could be his last, Woods told reporters: “I don’t know what that is. It may or may not be.”

Tiger Woods wipes his face on the 10th hole during weather warnings in second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Woods was unsure about his US Open future after a missed cut in North Carolina

Woods mixed one birdie and three bogeys during his second round, seeing him finish two strokes outside the projected cut mark, with the former world No 1 disappointed with his latest performance.

“It’s one of those things where in order to win a golf tournament, you have to make the cut,” Woods said post-round. “I can’t win the tournament from where I’m at, so it certainly is frustrating. I thought I played well enough to be up there in contention. It just didn’t work out.”

What went wrong for Tiger?

Woods scrambled a par at the first and holed from 12 feet to avoid dropping a shot at the par-four next, then saw a 15-foot birdie at the fourth undone when he missed from eight feet to save par at the fifth.

The 48-year-old had a run of pars after that but it ended when he took two attempts to negotiate a steep bank at the ninth and made bogey, seeing him reach the turn in 36, before settling for a par at the par-five 10th following a monster approach that ran off the back of the green.

His putt from the fringe at the 12th drifted some 10 feet past the hole and resulted in another bogey, taking him to six over, before he looked on in disbelief as birdie-putt chances on three consecutive holes narrowly missed the target.

Woods’ hopes suffered a further setback when a bogey at the par-four 16th left him requiring a birdie-birdie finish, with a sensational sand save at the 17th and closing par not enough for him to make it through to the weekend.

“It was probably the highest score I could have possibly shot today,” Woods said. “I hit a lot of good shots that just didn’t quite go my way, or I hit good putts, and then I put myself in a couple of bad spots with some bad lag putts.”

Tiger Woods reacts after missing a putt on the seventh hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II )
Woods was making his first US Open appearance since 2020

Analysis: The end for Tiger at the US Open?

Four-time major champion Dame Laura Davies: “Everything we’ve seen over the last 18 months…when he’s tried to play, he’s not contending. He’s not an also ran to us, but in his own mind he’s not getting in contention and he thinks that’s where he should be. And why wouldn’t he?

“All the wins, all the success he’s had, and I hope it’s not the last one. You say things after you are disappointed that you maybe don’t mean, but when Tiger says something, people tend to listen.”

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Woods shot a disappointing four-over-par 74 in the first round of the US Open

Former PGA champion Rich Beem: “I’d hate to believe that [is Woods’ last US Open], just because we still believe he’s got just a little bit left in the tank. Coming through these injuries I know it just takes a toll on him, but I hope that it’s not true.”

Sky Sports’ Nick Dougherty: “He came to the event with the ambition to try and compete and he was far from it. He’d have hated every minute of the last two days.

Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)
Woods played alongside Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick during the first two rounds at Pinehurst No 2

“As someone who did play in the era when if you beat Tiger, you generally won, I don’t get any joy from watching everybody beat him now. As much as I want to watch him play, I only want to watch him play if he can compete. He was so good to watch in his prime, he’s hard to let go of.”

Woods getting ready for The Open

Woods said at the start of the year he intended to complete a full major schedule this season, something he has not done since 2019, and he now turns his attention to The Open at Royal Troon next month.

Any appearances on the PGA Tour have already been ruled out by Woods, although completing all four majors in a calendar year without injury would represent a step in the right direction.

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Watch selection of the best ever shots from Woods’ lengthy career at The Open

“I’ve only got one more tournament this season,” Woods confirmed. “Even if I win The Open, I don’t think I’ll be in the [FedExCup] Playoffs. Just one more event and then I’ll come back whenever I come back.”

Woods was absent from last year’s contest at Hoylake and missed the cut in his previous two appearances, at Royal Portrush in 2019 and St Andrews in 2022, with the three-time champion looking to make the cut at The Open for the first time since his tied-sixth finish at Carnoustie in 2018.

Watch Tiger Woods in action throughout the major season live on Sky Sports, including The 152nd Open at Royal Troon from July 18-21. Stream the majors and more with NOW.

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