Perhaps it was inevitable that the 14-time major champion would struggle with scoring on his first start since the microdiscectomy 12 weeks ago, particularly on a layout as demanding as Congressional. After all, it is serious operation from which some of his professional colleagues have taken a year to come back from.
“I came back four weeks earlier than we thought I could, so just to be back is good,” Woods said. “I was most worried about hitting driver, but the fact I could hit it that hard was very encouraging. I made a ton of silly mistakes which I can rectify for the British [Open].”
His troubles began on the fifth where he paid for a pushed approach with a plugged lie in a bunker, took two to get out and took a double. Before that he had been on the cutline, but from then on was involved in a game of catch-up which proved to be beyond him.
There was a three-putt on the sixth, after he had hit the par-five in two, a poor chip on the eighth and although Woods sent the volume of the huge Washington crowd soaring with back to back birdies on the ninth and 10th, the ugly quartet was to follow.
Tee-shots went awry on the 11th and 12th and poor chips on the 13th and 14th ensured he would record just the 10th missed cut in 18 years as a pro on the PGA Tour.
Justin Rose began the second round on the same mark as Woods, but ended with a day’s best 65 which took him to three-under. That leaves him only three off the pace set by Australians Marc Leishman and Oliver Goss and the US duo of Patrick Reed and Ricky Barnes.
Woods was in good company in missed-cut land, as, on his first appearance since winning the US Open, Martin Kaymer shot a 71 for a one-over total at the BMW International Open in Cologne. England’s Danny Willett shares the lead on 12-under alongside Spain’s Rafael-Cabrera Bello and Pablo Larrazabal and the Argentinian Emiliano Grillo.