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Missed cut not all bad for Tiger
By BOB HARIG
Published May 17, 2005
By now, you can bet that Tiger Woods is over having missed a cut for the first time in seven years. His friend Mark O'Meara told reporters at the Byron Nelson Championship last weekend that Woods was back on the range at Isleworth on Saturday morning, disappointed his streak had ended, but talking about putting together a new one.
That is what champions do. They get past the negatives, search for positives.
But the amazing streak that came to an end Friday when Woods missed his first cut on the PGA Tour after a record-setting 142 straight still deserves discussion.
It might go down as one of his top accomplishments, which is saying something.
Woods, 29, has won nine major championships and 43 PGA Tour events. But only two other players in PGA Tour history made it to 100 straight cuts, Byron Nelson (113) and Jack Nicklaus (105). The next best was 86 by Hale Irwin . Of the current Big Five - Woods, Vijay Singh , Ernie Els , Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen - only Singh's 53 straight came anywhere close to Woods.
Nelson, who set the mark in the 1940s when finishing "in the money" usually meant having to crack the top 25 to earn a check, once remarked that he held the cut streak in higher regard than winning 11 straight tournaments in 1945.
"Eleven in a row was very unusual," Nelson said. "You had to be lucky to do that.
"But when you play that many rounds and finish in the money in that many tournaments (in a row), luck doesn't figure into that at all."
Woods admits luck did play into his streak. But much of it was Woods' fortitude. He is often criticized for not playing more, but part of that has to do with always being ready to play. He has always taken pride in not merely showing up.
"Consistent," Woods said when he was on the verge of breaking Nelson's record in 2003. "Not only consistent, but I fight pretty hard, day in and day out.
"There are times when I should have missed the cut, but somehow I finagled a way to play on the weekend. That's just persistence."
There are those who believe Woods' record is diminished by the large number of no-cut tournaments that counted along the way. There were 31 tournaments in which players were given credit for making a cut.
But the same advantage has been there for Singh, Els, Mickelson and all the rest.
Singh missed a cut last year during his best season ever. Mickelson missed two. When it happened to them, they didn't make the front page.
NOT NO.1 ... YET: Singh has 12 victories on tour since the start of the 2004 season; Woods has four. Both have won a major championship.
And yet, while Woods missed the cut at the Byron Nelson and Singh tied for third, Woods remained on top of the Official World Golf Ranking ... barely.
Neither is entered in this week's Colonial, but Singh is expected to overtake Woods.
RECORD PACE: Singh is ahead of his pace last year when he won a record $10,905,166.
He has earned $5,292,006 in 14 tournaments. At this point last year he had played 13 and earned $4,524,965.
Singh is earning $378,000 per start and if he plays 29 times, as he did last year, he would end up with $10,962,012.
Information from other news organizations was used in the report.