SCOTTSDALE, United States (AFP) - Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods fired his worst score as a professional, an 11-over par 82, to miss the cut at the US PGA Phoenix Open on Friday.
Woods stood last at 13-over 155 for the tournament, his first tour event since last August after recovering from a back injury, and said he was healthy but simply needs more tournament work to try and recover his top form.
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Woods said. “I’ve got to continue with the process. I’ve got to keep things in perspective. Sometimes it’s difficult. No doubt about it.”
Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, is assured of missing the cut for only the 13th time in his pro career.
He will have missed the cut at least once in each year since 2008, when he won his most recent major title at the US Open at Torrey Pines.
Woods is set to play a tour event next week at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times but last year struggled and missed a secondary 54-hole cut.
In his first event since turning 39 last month, Woods opened with a 73 Thursday but struggled almost from the time he began Friday off the 10th tee.
After a bogey at 11, Woods made a double bogey at the par-4 14 and triple bogey at par-5 15, then took back-to-back bogeys at 17 and 18 to make the turn 8-over, the 44 matching the worst nine holes of his career.
“Just keep fighting, just keep grinding each and every shot,” Woods said of his thoughts as the woeful holes wore on.
“It was not a good day from the very start. I was fighting all day.”
Woods parred the next three holes before a double-bogey at the par-3 fourth.
His first birdie of the day came at the fifth but he followed with back-to-back bogeys before a birdie at eight and a closing bogey that made it the worst round of his pro career.
An 81 at wind-whipped Muirfield in the third round of the 2002 British Open was the only other time Woods had failed to break 80 since his amateur days.
The only event Woods had played since the PGA Championship last August was his charity event last month, where he shared last in his comeback from a four-month back injury layoff, an injury that nagged him all of last season.
Woods said part of his problem is in his head even as he works to change his swing and improve his short game, his chipping letting him down greatly on Friday.
“It’s mental to an extent,” he said.
“The physical patterns are different so the confidence in them is not there.”
Woods entered the event ranked 47th and is projected to tumble from the top 50 for the first time since his fall to 58th in late 2011 in the wake of injuries and his infamous sex scandal.
That was his lowest point since becoming world number one for the first time in 1997.