FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – On Tiger Woods’ ninth hole of the day Friday, he finally allowed himself, if only for a brief, blink-and-you-miss-it moment, to smile.
That was the only sign of positive emotion all round.
The Masters champion will not see the weekend at the PGA Championship, as his 5-over total left him one shot back of the 4-over cutline. Woods shot a 3-over-par 73 in the second round, the highlights being two front-nine birdies and a near round-saver on the par-5 13th.
Woods admitted afterwards he was sick, he was underprepared, and he just didn’t do the right things in his first tournament back in over a month.
"I’m not playing the weekend. That’s disappointing," said Woods. "I just didn’t quite have it."
That’s a bit of an understatement.
After the Masters, the anticipation this week at Bethpage Black – where he won the U.S. Open in 2002, after winning the Masters earlier that same spring – was high, and with reason.
But Woods didn’t play any events between when the final putt dropped at Augusta National and when he teed it up on Long Island, and it showed. Badly.
Woods hit just three of 14 fairways – he did that once before at the PGA Championship, in 2010 – and was nearly dead last in the field in driving accuracy on Friday. He hit only 50 percent of his greens, and took 30 putts.
Everything was off.
"I made too many mistakes and just didn’t do the little things I need to do," said Woods. "I had a couple three-putts. I didn’t hit wedges close. I didn’t hit any fairways today.
"I did a lot of little things wrong."
Lowest 36-hole scores at a major:
Brooks Koepka 128 2019 PGA Champ
Gary Woodland 130 2018 PGA Champ
Jordan Spieth 130 2015 Masters
Martin Kaymer 130 2014 US Open
Brandt Snedeker 130 2012 Open Champ
Nick Faldo 130 1992 Open Champ
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 17, 2019
And for the second day in a row Woods had to bare witness to history being made.
Grouped with Brooks Koepka, who fired a 7-under-par 63 Thursday – to break the course record – he backed that up with a 5-under-par 65 Friday. Koepka’s 128 total set the major championship scoring record for lowest 36-hole score. His seven-shot lead is also the most in major championship history after 36 holes.
The numbers are Tiger-esque, according to Woods himself.
"When you’re able to hit the ball much further than other players, and get on the right golf courses where setups like this is penalizing if you are a little bit crooked, and if he does miss it, as I said, he misses on the correct sides, and he’s far enough down there to where he was able to get the ball on the green," said Woods. "He did all the little things right."
At times Koepka looked disinterested in his round because things were so easy. Woods started to look disinterested because things were so hard.
Woods mixed it up with the crowds on his opening hole – he ripped his drive so far left they had to part to allow him to find his ball – and they were giving him all the support he needed to be pushed to a low score, but he couldn’t deliver.
It was a sign of things to come.
Woods made three straight bogeys from No’s 10-12 and that spelled the end of his PGA Championship. He had flared one final iron shot on the par-4 18th and after a pedestrian chip shot didn’t fall for birdie, that was that.
It takes Woods approximately 40 minutes to get his body ready to start hitting balls once he arrives at a golf course, according to a physiotherapist who works with more than 10 PGA Tour players.
It took him a little less than that to get himself ready to leave the golf course Friday.
He spoke to media. He popped into the locker room. His beige Cadillac courtesy SUV for the week was ready to roll, his clubs stored in the back while his girlfriend Erica stood idle, agent Mark Steinberg not that far away along with friend Rob McNamara.
Like the popular animated gif of Abe Simpson arriving and immediately turning back around to leave, Woods got to Bethpage Black and departed just as fast.
"I just wasn’t moving the way I needed to. That’s the way it goes," he said. "There’s going to be days and weeks where it’s just not going to work, and today was one of those days."
He said afterwards he needed to start feeling better before he can "get up to speed again." It’s likely he’ll play the Memorial Tournament in two weeks before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, another course Woods has won a major on.
But this major rolls into the weekend with Tiger Woods not in the field. Someone is, however, leading by a Tiger Woods-type margin.
And while the only on-course smile of the day came after he made birdie on nine, he flashed a big one when the round was finished. Someone reminded him that he came into this week on a high, despite the fact he was leaving it on a low.
"I’m the Masters Champion," he said, "and at 43 years old that’s a pretty good accomplishment."