Bethesda, United States: Tiger Woods struggled to a four-over par 75 and missed the cut Friday at the National, a frustrating return from a three-month layoff as he looks ahead to July`s British Open.
It was only the 10th time Woods has missed the cut in a US PGA Tour event since he turned professional in 1996.
Woods, a 14-time major winner chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, finished 36 holes at Congressional Country Club on seven-over 149 in his first competitive rounds since undergoing back surgery March 31 to relieve a pinched nerve.
He was four strokes beyond the projected cut line to the low 60 and those tied from a field of 120 at the $6.5 million event, which benefits Woods` charity foundation.
Woods had not missed the last 36 holes of a PGA event since the 2012 Greenbrier Classic, two weeks before he shared third at the British Open.
While his personal best is a PGA record of 142 events in a row without missing a cut, his run of 26 made cuts in a row that ended on Friday ranked fourth on the active list.
Woods, who has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open, had not played competitively until this week since March 9 at Doral, where he fired a 78 for his career-worst final-round score.
The 38-year-old American was trying to shake the rust off his game ahead of the British Open in three weeks at Royal Liverpool, where he won the Claret Jug in 2006.
Three weeks after that will come the year`s final major tournament, the PGA Championship at Valhalla, where Woods won the PGA crown in 2000.
Woods was inconsistent Friday, seldom able to combine solid tee shots, approaches and putts although he was strong at moments in all three areas.
He parred the first three holes after hitting into the rough, found the fairway at four but missed a seven-foot birdie putt, then needed two shots to escape a greenside bunker at the fifth, making a double bogey.
Woods had a 60-foot eagle putt at the par-5 sixth but settled for par and left a seven-foot par putt on the edge of the cup for bogey at eight.
Woods rallied with a 26-foot birdie putt at the ninth and a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-3 10th, moving within one stroke of the cut line.
But Woods made bogeys on the next four holes to doom any chance of reaching the weekend.
Woods hit into the trees off the tee at 11 and 12, missed the green at the par-3 13th and found greenside rough at the 14th and was unable to rescue par with his.
It was his longest bogey run since this year`s third round at Torrey Pines when he suffered five in a row.
Woods dropped his approach to two feet at the par-5 16th and made a birdie but missed a four-foot birdie putt at 17 and also settled for par at the last.
Woods, a winner at Congressional in 2009 and 2012, has fallen from first to fifth in the world rankings during his layoff.
Woods, whose 79 career titles are three shy of matching Sam Snead`s PGA record, has not won since last August`s World Golf Championships event in Akron, Ohio.
First Published: Saturday, June 28, 2014, 04:12