Originally created 05/14/05

Woods misses cut for first time in 7 years



IRVING, Texas - Tiger Woods finally has a weekend off, missing the cut Friday at the Byron Nelson Championship to end his record of 142 consecutive cuts made over the last seven years on the PGA Tour.

Needing a par on the 18th hole at Cottonwood Valley, Woods hit a 7-iron left into the bunker and could get no closer than 15 feet. The putt headed for the right side of the cup, stayed on its line and trickled a few inches by. His shoulders slumped ever so slightly, and Woods walked over to the ball and turned his putter perpendicular to tap in for a 2-over 72, leaving him at 1 over par for the tournament.

The cut was even par.

"I just didn't quite have it," Woods said.

The streak dated to the 1998 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where Woods withdrew instead of returning nearly seven months later to complete the third round in the rain-delayed tournament. The cut was made after 54 holes at Pebble because it was played on three courses.

The only other time he missed a cut was the 1997 Canadian Open, where he also bogeyed the last hole.

The streak ended in a fitting place. The cut streak long had been associated with Byron Nelson, who made 113 consecutive cuts in the 1940s, a record many thought would never be topped.

Woods broke that record in the 2003 Tour Championship, although that was among 31 tournaments during the streak that did not have a cut. Eliminate those, and his streak was 111 tournaments.

Either way, it's over.

"Just the streak in itself is amazing," said Kevin Sutherland, who played with Woods and Peter Lonard the first two days. "I don't think people realize how difficult it is to make that many in a row. That shows how hard he plays every time he tees it up."

Perhaps the best measure of his streak came shortly after he missed the cut. Ernie Els, playing two groups behind him, birdied the final hole to finish at 4 under par.

Els now has the longest active cut streak on tour - 20 tournaments.

Woods signed his card and spoke briefly to reporters, although it was clear the shock had not sunk in.

"What is it? Seven years? That's not too bad," he said. "I just tried to bandage my way to the finish. I figured it was even par, and I needed to make par."

He got above the cut line with a two-putt birdie on the 16th, then made par on No. 17. Woods played 2-iron off the tee on the final hole to keep it on the top shelf of the fairway. He twice backed off his 7-iron as gusts rustled the trees, but the shot rode the wind into the bunker, leaving him only about 15 feet of green that ran away from him.

Woods had a dozen or so close calls during his cut streak, including the 2003 Masters when he had to get up-and-down from a bunker on his last hole and made a slick 4-foot putt.

It looked as though he would escape this one, too.

"I needed to birdie a couple more holes coming in," he said.

Woods said he was headed home to Florida, where he would treat the weekend like any other when he wasn't playing a tournament - a workout, and some time on the practice range.

The worst part of missing the cut?

"I don't get that opportunity to win the tournament," he said.