ST ANDREWS, United Kingdom (AFP) - Tiger Woods missed back-to-back cuts at major tournaments for the first time in his career at the British Open on Saturday.
In the latest blow to his flagging fortunes, the game's former dominant force, mired in the worst slump of his pro career, carded a 75 in a weather-hit second round that spread over two days.
That, combined with the 76 he shot on Thursday, saw him miss the cut by a wide margin, but he at least did manage to play at the weekend as the second round was spread over two days due to a rain delay.
On Saturday, it was gusting winds that held up his departure for home, having finished on Friday evening with six holes to play.
The players finally got back out again in the evening and Woods needed a near-miracle to improve from the dire situation he found himself in at five over par for the tournament.
He never looked like pulling that off as he took bogeys at 14 and 15 to slip futher back.
Woods waved weakly to the crowd as he trudged off the 18th green in front of the iconic St Andrews club house that witnessed two of his greatest triumphs in 2000 and 2005.
“Well, I think I only made three birdies in two days. That’s not very good. The golf course wasn’t playing that hard. I just didn’t get much out of any of the two rounds,” he said.
“You know, it’s kind of funny because I hit the ball solid. It’s just that it wasn’t getting through the wind.
“I don’t know what was causing that, and it’s something that we’re going to have to take a look at.”
The former world No. 1 missed the cut at last month's US Open at Chambers Bay near Seattle after rounds of 80 and 76.
He tied for 17th in the Masters in April, but also missed the cut in the final major of last year, the PGA Championship.
His last and only missed cut in 19 previous British Opens came at Turnberry in 2009.
He won the tournament three times - in 2000, 2005 and 2006, part of his haul of 14 major titles, the second best of all-time behind the 18 of Jack Nicklaus.
Coming into St Andrews, Woods said he still felt he could close in on the all-time majors record of 18 held by Jack Nicklaus.
But his last win in a Grand Slam event came over seven years ago at the US Open.
His last win in a British Open was at Hoylake at 2006.
Injuries and changes to his swing pattern have dominated his game for the last two years reaching a nadir this year when he clocked up an 85 at The Memorial, his worst-ever score on the PGA Tour.
His tie for 17th at the Masters gave him some respite, but the two missed cuts at the Opens are a huge blow which will raise even more question marks over whether, five months shy of his 40th birthday, he is a spent force.
There remains the final major of the season, the PGA Championsip at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin next month, for him to salvage something from the wreckage of a year, which also saw him split up in May with longtime girlfriend, champion skier Lindsey Vonn.
Asked what his next step would be as he seeks to get revive his fortunes, Woods replied: “Keep going. Keep going forward.
“I play in a couple weeks in (Washington) DC, so looking forward to playing the Quicken Loans, and hopefully win that event so I can get into a place that I know very well.”