The world’s top-ranked player stumbled to a 74 and is tied for 46th at 1-over-par overall, 10 shots behind overnight leader Bill Haas. The second round was interrupted twice by storms, and play was suspended at 7 p.m. with about a third of the field still on the course.
Woods had shot par or better in 42 of his previous 45 rounds at Muirfield, and his 36-hole total of 145 is his worst showing since 1997.
The massive gallery following his group, which also included Fred Couples (70-75) and Keegan Bradley (71-74), seemed primed to let out full-throated roars. But with the threesome flummoxed by swirling winds and diabolically fast greens, the decibel level was more like something you’d find at a book reading.
Woods, who has won four times in seven starts this year, is first on the tour in par-5 scoring, averaging 4.36 per hole. But he double-bogeyed the reachable 15th. After a perfect drive, he left his second shot on a mound by the green, pitched past the pin into the rough and just missed his birdie chip.
His six-footer to save par lipped out and kept rolling, finally stopping seven feet away. He missed that, too.
He was 2-under on the hole after two rounds last year. This week, he’s 3-over.
Still, he wasn’t unhappy with his ball-striking.
“I missed (the green) by a foot on the 10th hole and had a couple other ones that were missed by a yard here or a yard there. And on a golf course like this, you get penalized,” he said.
Rory McIlroy, the world’s No. 2 player, is moving in the other direction. After opening with a 78, he was 4-under on his second round through 14 holes. At 2-over, he likely will be around for the weekend. The projected cut is 3-over.
New addition: The 31-year-old Haas, who shot 66 for a three-stroke lead, took the last two tournaments off while to help his wife with their first child, son William.
Becoming a father has given him a new perspective. Well, sort of.
“Part of me thought I wasn’t going to get mad at the golf course anymore, but that first bogey I made, I caught myself getting angry,” he said.
“But there’s a lot more important things going on. Maybe I’m just a little quicker now at rebounding from being mad.”
Going home: Dustin Johnson (73-76), Webb Simpson (75-76), Nick Watney (82-77) and 14-year-old Chinese prodigy Guan Tianlang (72-79) all missed the cut.
Also in danger of making early exits are Brandt Snedeker and Lee Westwood, who were 6-over when play was halted.