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Tiger Woods Fails To Make Cut at Quicken Loans National

Getty Images via Zimbio

Getty Images via Zimbio

Tiger Woods returned to the course this week for the Quicken Loans National, the tournament he sponsors every year at Congressional, three months after he underwent back surgery to address an injury that’s kept him out of all but four tournaments this year.

Unfortunately for Woods, and those who turn up and tune in to watch him play, his most recent comeback proved another stark reminder that he simply isn’t the player he once was. And at this point, with each passing injury and subsequent underwhelming return, it’s getting hard to hold out hope that he will ever again be that player.

In the second round on Friday, Woods had a 4-over 75 and missed the cut at his own tournament by four shots. It was just the 10th time in his entire PGA career in which he missed a 36-hole cut.

Never known as a gracious loser, often times Woods has been his own harshest critic over the years, due in part to the tremendously high goals he’s set for himself. But after missing the cut, he didn’t seem too concerned about his performance—in fact, he was surprisingly optimistic:

“I hate to say it, but I’m really encouraged by what happened this week. I missed the cut by four shots—that’s a lot. But the fact that that I was able to do physically, and the speed I had and the distance that I was hitting the golf ball again, I and not done that in a very long time. Felt great today. Then, as I said, I made so many little mistakes … all the little things that I know I can fix. But as I said, that’s very encouraging.”

At least someone finds it encouraging.

The truth is, there has been little to be encouraged about in the play of Woods over the last several years. It’s been six years since he won a Major—the 2008 U.S. Open—and with few exceptions, he hasn’t even come close. He’s still six behind Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 and has already missed 50 percent of the Majors this year (2-of-4).

Woods’ next opportunity to redeem himself and get back on course, so to speak, is at the British Open next month. An event he’s had some success in the past—he won the event in 2000, 2005 and 2006—but the links in the UK are famously unpredictable, with cold weather, winds and rain often a factor, even in July.

Woods said he was encouraged, in part, because he was able to return pain-free a month earlier than his medical team had anticipated. Well, judging by his performance this week, he’s going to need every day of that to practice before the opening round at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club begins on July 17th.

Because if he’s going to play anything like he did this week, he might as well just skip the trip entirely.

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