OK, granted, Tom Watson coming within a playoff of winning at Turnberry gets the nod. A 59-year-old has never done such a thing. What the heck, a 49-year-old has never done such a thing. Had Watson converted that par putt on the 72nd hole to win, it would have been the most remarkable championship the game has ever seen.
But if that TW's performance was astonishing, the performance of the other TW ran a competitive second. Yes, Tiger Woods has missed cuts before, a total of six in his professional career. He has even missed them at majors. But since he turned pro at the end of 1996, Woods had never missed a cut under ordinary circumstances at a grand slam event.
His only previous professional weekend off at a major was at Winged Foot in 2006, when he took his first competitive cuts in a U.S. Open batting cage after several weeks off to mourn the death of his father. Not dialed in physically or mentally, Sir Eldrick shot matching trombones (76-76) on a USGA championship setup. The misfire was easily understood.
What took place at Turnberry was considerably more shocking. Woods opened with a 1-over-par 71 — on a docile day in which Miguel Angel Jimenez carded a 64. On Friday, Woods swallowed a second-round 74 that left him one shot shy of the 36-hole cut and sent him shopping at “Weekends Only.”
In the aftermath, we are left to wonder how it happened, why it happened and what it means.
The simple answers?
“I just made mistakes,” Woods said. “And obviously you can't make mistakes and expect to not only make the cut but also try to win a championship. You have to play clean rounds of golf, and I didn't.”
The medieval barbarians in Capitol One commercials are more hygienic than the strokes Woods played at Turnberry. You need one of dearly departed Billy Mays' cleaning products to make out the numbers. He hit 15 of 28 fairways, 21 of 36 greens and at least one too many putts. Basically, the tournament came down to a suicidal six-hole stretch, in which Woods channeled Charles Barkley.
Par for the tournament at that point, the No. 1 player bogeyed Nos. 8 and 9, lost a ball and double-bogeyed 10, parred 11, bogeyed 12 and double-bogeyed the 13th. Chubbs Peterson of “Happy Gilmore” was rolling over in his grave, one hand and all.
It was the first time Woods has finished worse than top-10 in a stroke-play tournament since he returned from knee surgery, so some slack is certainly called for. At the same time, that resume is what made the Turnberry twist all the more stunning.
Woods is without a major championship trophy on his mantel for the first time in five years. He has not gone an entire season without winning a major since 2004. His relentless attack on Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 pro majors has slowed at 14. There is still plenty of time for the 33-year-old Woods and there is still one more major in 2009 — the PGA Championship at Hazeltine (Aug. 13-16).
In the 2002 PGA at Hazeltine, Woods made a late charge with a final-round 67 but fell short of chasing down a hallucinating Rich Beem. Woods finished second at 9-under for the tournament. So, certainly, he is capable of making Minneapolis his major. But he will have to be ready to trust his new, knee-adjusted swing. He will have to come clean.
“I just haven't put together all four rounds, and you have to play clean in order to win a major championship,” Woods said. “I haven't done that.”
The 138th British Open Championship
Final day of play in Turnberry, Scotland.
Latest golf video
The Office's Baumgartner shows off his golf game
DPS: Actor Brian Baumgartner from "The Office" tells Dan Patrick how he felt about the series finale of his show and delves into his golfing routines and even hits the ball while still on the phone with the DPS crew.
Top 10 'accessible' golf courses
From California to Florida, these amazing greens are open for anyone to play.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.