Friday, June 16, 2006

Tiger Checks Out

After careful consideration, USGA officials decided Friday afternoon to finish the U.S. Open this weekend despite the fact Tiger Woods is going to miss the cut.

The only lingering question Friday afternoon was whether anyone would make the cut. That's how tough Winged Foot has been.

Tiger's tale was a short, sorry one by golf standards.

He couldn't drive it straight and he couldn't make enough putts to save himself. It doesn't take Johnny Miller to figure out that's a recipe for trouble.

Walking around watching Woods chasing the cut line Friday morning, the gallery was almost eerily subdued. But there wasn't much to cheer about. Not just with Tiger but with everyone playing.

Winged Foot is so hard, there's no way to generate any momentum. Woods found out as harshly as anyone. He looked like a lost soul at times, slashing at shots from the rough then slumping when his ball went somewhere he wished it hadn't.

As Woods walked onto the ninth green (his final hole) Friday at lunch time, he had no real chance of making the cut and knew it. There was no standing ovation for his having tied Jack Nicklaus' record of making the cut in 39 consecutive major championships.

Instead, there was polite applause. One guy yelled, 'Go Tiger!' Then, reminding everyone this is New York, another guy yelled, 'Let's go, Jets!'

Tiger will go somewhere this weekend, maybe on a nice slow yacht ride down the east coast back to his home in Florida. The Open will go on without him. But it won't feel the same.