PGA Championship 2024: Tiger Woods can’t overcome ‘mistakes’ as he heads home early from Valhalla

May 18, 2024

LOUISVILLE — The warms feelings around Valhalla Golf Club were there for Tiger Woods this. They love their hometown winners in the Midwest, and Woods became an adopted son long ago with his thrilling PGA Championship win in 2000. Unfortunately, Woods could not match the fans’ enthusiasm with inspired play.

His explanation after two grinding, soggy days in the 106th PGA: “Unfortunately, I hit too many shots.”

Indeed, he did, and it means that Woods won’t play at Valhalla on the weekend for the second time in three major appearances here. After opening this major with a 72 that might have been the worst score he could shoot, Woods imploded over three straight holes early in his second round, sandwiching triple bogeys at Nos. 2 and 4, the result of sloppy shots, around a bogey to eliminate any chance of making the cut.

As the sun began to set, Woods finished to warm applause from a small gallery at 18, closing with a birdie to shoot six-over 77 and head home with a tie for 134th at seven over. He finished the two days 19 strokes behind leader Xander Schauffele.

“Just kept making mistakes and things you can’t do—not just in tournaments but in majors especially,” Woods said. “And I just kept making them. I hung around for most of the day but unfortunately the damage was done early.”

The triple bogeys were ugly for different reasons. At the par-4 second, Woods went from rough on his drive to rough after his approach, and then he chunked his pitch into a bunker. Noting later there was “no sand” in the first bunker, he sculled his fourth shot into a bunker on the other side of the green. Then, after a three-putt bogey at the third, Woods again found a greenside bunker with his third shot and needed two blasts to escape.

After that, he birdied 7 and 8, only two give shots back with bogeys at 11 and 12 before the closing birdie.

Woods, 48, won four PGA Championships in his first 11 tries, but has only one top-10—a solo second at Bellerive in 2018—in his last 11 starts. He’s missed four cuts and had to withdraw after three rounds in 2022 at Southern Hills over his last seven appearances, starting with shooting 74-74 to miss the weekend at Valhalla in 2014.

Asked if he’s stronger than he was a month ago, when he last competed and made the cut in the Masters, Woods nodded yes, but added, “I still have more ways to go, lots of improvement to go physically, and hopefully my team and I can get that done pre-Pinehurst and going into it.”

It’s a tough deal, when Woods has made only three start this year and now has completed seven rounds and ends up playing the hardest setups on tour. But Woods will take another shot at progress when he plays the U.S. Open next month at Pinehurst No. 2 on a special exemption from the USGA.