This weekend saw Tiger Woods, fresh off his impressive Masters victory, missing the cut for the PGA Championship.
Woods shot a three-over-par 73 on Friday to finish with a 36-hole total of five-over 145, one stroke above the cut line—and 17 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka.
This year’s PGA Championship was held at Bethpage Black, the course on which Woods once won the United States Open in 2002—one of his 15 major titles.
Fans were hoping to see the golf legend, who’s comeback has galvanized the golf world, have another spectacular win, following last month’s performance in Augusta. An older and wiser Woods, however, has tempered expectations.
“There’s more days I feel older than my age than I do younger,” Woods said to the New York Times.
Friday was the ninth time in Woods’ 76 major starts as a professional wherein he has failed to advance to the weekend.
“I just wasn’t moving the way I needed to,” Woods said. “That’s the way it goes. There’s going to be days and weeks where it just doesn’t work.”
Even given his impressive triumph winning back the green jacket, Woods, 43, has had far from a simple comeback season. The star took a brief break before the Players Championship to recover from injury.
And going into the PGA Championship, Woods was feeling out of sorts. He bypassed a tuneup event in Charlotte, NC that he had won before, citing mental fatigue from the Masters. And his preparation once he arrived in New York was curtailed by illness. Instead of playing the back nine in a Wednesday practice round, as he had intended, he chose to rest.
“Being a little bit older and with the back the way it is, there’s a lot of concerns,” he said, “and when it comes to what do I need to do to get ready and be ready to go, sometimes the quick turnarounds may be a little bit more difficult.”
This is his new normal, Woods said. When he feels good, he can win—spectacularly. And when he’s not, he might miss the cut. It’s the “fickle nature” of having part of his back fused.
Woods for what it is worth, is taking this new normal and aiming high. The athlete was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor. And he’s also set his sights on the 2020 Olympics.
The next major is the United States Open next month at Pebble Beach in Northern California, where Woods won the first of his three U.S. Open titles.