SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - Tiger Woods said the other day that his greatest problem is a lack of consistency. The results, however, have been too consistent to suit him. For the third time in a row at a major championship, he missed the cut.
He finished the suspended second round of the PGA Championship yesterday morning with a 1-over-par 73 to go 4 over, missing the cut by two strokes. Woods nonetheless insisted that he is improving. So did his old rival Phil Mickelson, who did make it to the third round and made nine birdies -- four in a row at one point -- in a 6-under 66.
In any case, the Wanamaker Trophy will go Sunday to someone other than the two dominant figures of their golf generation.
"You have to give yourself an opportunity and I haven't given myself that opportunity the last few majors," Woods said, referring to the U.S. and British Opens as well as this week's event at Whistling Straits. "I hit it good enough to be where I needed to be, but I putted awful. I finally figured something out today on the putting green, but the damage had already been done."
He said the change was in his setup, which helped him see the lines. It remains to be seen if he feels sufficiently encouraged to play the Wyndham Championship next week. He officially entered on Friday, but has not committed to playing. He must finish first or second to qualify for the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs.
"What now? I'm going home to watch the leaders tee off and play, probably in Florida. Actually I'll go to my sports bar, how about that?" Woods said, referring to the restaurant in Jupiter that he opened this week.
"Well, it just takes time. I hadn't played that much the last couple years and I'm finally able to start playing. Unfortunately, I'm missing out on, potentially missing out on, the playoffs," he said. "But I've got a lot of golf left. We have got some other tournaments that I'm going to be playing in, plus overseas events."
Mickelson's round Saturday seemed an exercise in exuberance. When he hit from the rough near Lake Michigan, he paused to acknowledge boaters before joining playing partner Jason Bohn on the green.
"We just kind of talked and laughed and I kind of forgot about the fact that I haven't been playing my best in some time, and let go of some of the pressure I've been putting on myself," Mickelson said, having finished 5 under for the first three rounds.
He referred to mistakes that kept him from shooting a really low number, but he is confident that his game is not going downhill -- unlike the playful deliberate slide he took on Whistling Straits' slick slopes Friday. "I got going faster than I thought I would," he said. "But I was graceful at the bottom."