Winged Foot sends Tiger home


The AssociatedPress
Tiger Woods putts on the second green during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, Friday.

AP Sports Writer

MAMARONECK — Father’s Day. The U.S. Open. They have always gone hand-in-hand for Tiger Woods, and he no doubt envisioned this week as the perfect time to win one for Dad.
Instead, he will be a spectator, the result of a surprisingly terrible two-day display that ended in Woods missing the cut in a major for the first time as a pro.
Playing from under trees, in the rough and even from the wrong course Friday, Woods shot his second straight score of 6-over-par 76 to miss the cut by three strokes.
“I don’t care if you had what transpired in my life or not,” said Woods, playing for the first time since his father died in May. “Poor execution is never going to feel very good.”
Woods wasn’t the only player to serve up a stunner on another difficult day at Winged Foot.
Steve Stricker played his way into the lead, holing out two bunker shots during his final nine to shoot 1-under 69. He held a one-stroke lead over Colin Montgomerie, who shot 71. And David Duval shot 68 to finish at 5-over and make the cut in a major for the first time since 2002, the year after he won the British Open.
Surprised? Duval insisted he wasn’t.
“It’s a matter of confidence in how I’m playing,” he said. “My results haven’t been nearly what I thought they should be this year to this point.”
Another shot behind Montgomerie were Geoff Oglivy and Kenneth Ferrie, who each shot 70. Jim Fuyrk, the 2003 champion, and Padraig Harrington were at 142. Phil Mickelson shot 73 to enter the weekend at 143, four shots back with Graeme McDowell, Aaron Oberholser and Jason Dufner.
“Bogeys are OK,” Mickelson said, rare words from a guy who thrives on birdies. “I’m within four shots with two rounds to go. I’m where I wanted to be. All I wanted is a chance.”
That’s more than Woods has.
All signs pointed to a solid return for the world’s best player, who had won tournaments after the two long layoffs earlier in his career. He insisted beforehand that he was ready to contend for a championship. His two days of golf showed he really wasn’t.
He missed 21 of 28 fairways and when he did hit them, he wasn’t great with his irons. Putting wasn’t good, either.
The hole that best summed things up was No. 16, where he hit a great drive, but lost his second shot slightly to the left. It clipped a tree, bounced to the left, hit a cart path and came to rest near a chain-link fence in a bunker on the 12th hole of the East Course at Winged Foot, which is closed for this tournament.
After a free drop and a chip into a bunker, he made double-bogey to balloon to 10-over par.
Woods said his father’s recent death and the emotional aftermath were not to blame. Nor was the layoff.
“No, not rust,” he said. “Unfortunately, I just didn’t execute properly, and consequently, I shot 6-over.”
Though Woods is gone, there are still some familiar names atop the leaderboard. Montgomerie’s wasn’t exactly expected there this week. Save last year’s British Open, where he finished second, he hadn’t contended in a major this decade. But he made 17 pars and one bogey to finish at par. Still in search of his first major championship, the 42-year-old Scot — once considered the Best Player To Never Win A Major — said he was quite pleased.
“Assess the round?” Monty mused. “Seventeen pars, one bogey. That’s good. That’s very good. One mistake is good. No birdies isn’t.”
Stricker, meanwhile, hasn’t led in a major since the third round of the 1998 PGA Championship, where he finished second to Vijay Singh. He hasn’t contended since the 1999 U.S. Open, and he has struggled so much that he hasn’t had full eligibility on the PGA Tour the last two years.
But he made it through qualifying last week, and he’s making the most of the opportunity.
“I feel tons more pressure when I’m trying to make a cut,” he said.
It was his hole-out from a greenside bunker on No. 9 that, ironically, turned up the last bit of pressure on Woods. That increased his lead over Woods to 11 strokes. The U.S. Open takes the top 60 and anyone within 10 strokes of the lead into the weekend.
“I knew if I made one birdie coming in and a couple pars, the 10-shot rule would get me in,” said Woods, who was a few holes back when Stricker made his shot.
Instead, Woods made two bogeys. After his final one on No. 9, he snatched the ball from the cup and gave a quick tip of the cap to the fans before walking off glumly to sign his final scorecard of the week.
It marked the third cut he’s missed in the last 13 months, including the Fuani Classic at Disney last fall and the Byron Nelson in May, which snapped his record streak of 142 straight tournaments in the money.
“It’s not something you want to have happen,” Woods said. “I’d gone a while without missing one. Unfortunately, I missed this one and hopefully I can win the British.”


A's rolling along, Mets see streak halted

By The Associated Press
Oakland is again on pace for a big June, and one of its ace pitchers is fueling its resurgence.
Barry Zito struck out 11 in his sixth straight win, Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer and the Athletics beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 on Friday night for their season-high eighth consecutive victory as interleague play resumed across the majors.
The A’s have baseball’s longest current winning streak after the Baltimore Orioles came from behind to defeat New York 6-3, ending the Mets’ eight-game winning streak.
At Oakland, Jay Payton doubled twice among his three hits, Bobby Kielty had two doubles and an RBI, and Marco Scutaro doubled and drove in two runs for the A’s, who finished with seven two-base hits.


It will only get harder

AP Sports Columnist

MAMARONECK — Failure is never a welcome teacher, just a necessary one. And the lesson it taught Tiger Woods on a steamy Friday at the U.S. Open is going to take some time to learn.
Missing the cut in a major won’t even register on the range of emotions Woods has experienced over the last six weeks, ever since his father, Earl, succumbed in his long battle with cancer. The only reason he mentioned the two events in the same breath is because someone asked whether his first loss made this disappointment easier to take.
“What’s transpired off the golf course, I don’t know if it gives you a different type of perspective. But I don’t care if you had what transpired in my life of recent or not,” Woods said. “Poor execution is never going to feel very good.”
In this instance, as in just about every other in Woods’ golfing career, there was a link to Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus became his benchmark when a young Tiger taped a list of Jack’s accomplishments to his bedroom wall, and Woods had made exactly as many consecutive cuts at the majors — 39 — as Nicklaus had before a second round of 76 sent him home for the weekend. But in this instance, the link was even stronger.