In order to accomplish his stated goal of playing himself back into competitive shape after returning from back surgery, Tiger Woods needs to ensure that he actually plays. The 14-time major winner came perilously close to missing out on the final two rounds of the 2014 Open Championship on Friday before salvaging the weekend with his very last shot of the day.
After 35 uneven holes, Woods needed to sink a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Royal Liverpool get inside the cut line (+2) at the Open Championship. He found himself in danger of missing the cut at a major for just the fourth time in his career after a triple bogey on the 17th hole. After carding a solid 3-under 69 in his first round, Woods opened his second round with a double bogey and a bogey. As he stood over his fourth shot on the Par 5 18th hole, Woods had yet to record a birdie all day.
With the cut line looming, Woods made his first birdie putt of the day when he needed it most. His six-foot putt ensured that he would get in two more rounds at Royal Liverpool over the weekend. The wayward shots that preceded that final one ensured that Woods had fallen far behind the leaders. He finished his round with a 5-over 77, leaving him 14 strokes behind leader Rory McIlroy.
"I'm pretty far back," Woods said after his round, via The Associated Press. "Luckily I've got two rounds to go. And hopefully I can do something like Paul did in '99. He made up, I think, 10 in one day. Hopefully I can play well on the weekend and at least give myself a shot at it going to the back nine on Sunday."
The Open Championship is Woods' second tournament back since undergoing back surgery in March. He returned to the PGA Tour for the Quicken Loans National in June. He missed the cut at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md after rounds of 74 and 75.