Charlotte: A frustrated Tiger Woods missed a cut for only the eighth time in a PGA Tour event while Nick Watney stormed into a one-shot lead in Friday’s second round of the Wells Fargo Championship here.
Former world No. 1 Woods battled to a one-over-par 73 at Quail Hollow Club, struggling with his putter, failing to birdie any of the four par-five holes and finishing one stroke outside the cut-line.
The greatest player of his generation and arguably the best of all time, Woods has now missed four cuts in his last 36 PGA Tour appearances after missed the same number in his previous 231 starts.
“The entire week I didn’t play the par-fives well,” Woods said, after parring his last nine holes for an even-par total of 144, a distant 12 strokes behind fellow American Watney who fired an eight-under 64.
Asked to explain why he had struggled, Woods replied: “It all has to do with my set-up. If I get over the golf ball and I feel uncomfortable, I hit it great. It’s just that I get out there and I want to get comfortable, and I follow my old stuff, and I hit it awful.”
The 14-time Major champion, playing his first PGA Tour event since tying for 40th last month’s Masters, then reiterated what has become a mantra for him as he strives to regain the form that once saw him dominate the game.
“I know what I need to do, it's just I need more (repetitions) doing it,” said Woods, who has been grooving a new swing with coach Sean Foley over the last two years. “Obviously we’ve changed a bunch of different things, and every now and again I fall into the same stuff, old stuff. It takes time to get rid of old patterns.”
While Woods struggled on the challenging Quail Hollow layout, four-times PGA Tour champion Watney surged to the top of the leaderboard with a superb 64 that included seven birdies, an eagle at the par-five 15th and a lone bogey.
Former British Open champion Stewart Cink carded a 69 to sit two strokes off the pace at 10-under with fellow Americans Ben Crane (64), DA Points (68) and Australian John Senden (68).
US Open champion Rory McIlroy, who blew away a top-quality field by four shots at the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship, improved on his opening 70 with a 68 for a six-under total.
Arjun Atwal, who made just one cut in 11 starts before this week, showed signs of revival as he was tied 10th and in sight of his first top-10 finish. Atwal, the only Indian winner on the PGA Tour, was seven-under 137 for two rounds following rounds of 68 and 69.