Tiger Woods' debut tournament of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season didn't go quite as planned. The 38-year-old legend missed the secondary cut in defending his title at the Farmers Insurance Open—an event he's won seven times previously.
PGA rules dictate that only 70 golfers (including ties) are allowed to advance to the final round of the tournament, and Tiger fell outside the top 70 with a disastrous round.
A third-round score of 79 at San Diego's Torrey Pines Golf Course on Saturday cost Woods a chance to even reach the final round at one of his favorite venues.
Torrey Pines was the site of his last major triumph at the 2008 U.S. Open, but Woods was unable to come close to emulating that sort of glory this time around.
With a 54-hole total of six-over par, the world No. 1 missed the secondary-cut line by three strokes. It's the first time in his career that he missed a secondary cut, per ESPN.com's Bob Harig. This marks the first missed cut of any kind for Woods on the PGA Tour since the 2012 Greenbrier Classic.
However, Woods failed to make the cut in his first worldwide start last season at the European Tour's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Things turned out pretty well from there—he won five tournaments overall, including just his second-ever win at THE PLAYERS Championship, often cited as golf's fifth major.
How alarmed should TIger Woods be in missing his first cut of the season?
Woods struggled all day long during Saturday's third round of the Farmers Insurance Open, particularly on the front nine, where he bogeyed six straight holes, including a double-bogey on the first hole. The poor streak started with a double-bogey on 18. He opened the round with a bogey on 10, and added another on 14, before the seven-hole stretch where his day went completely and totally off the rails.
This massive letdown is befuddling in the sense that even when Woods is not on his A-game, it's almost always good enough to still play all 72 holes. The big shocker is that it happened at this particular stop on the tour.
Steve DiMeglio of USA Today provides thoughts from Jhonattan Vegas, who was partnered with Woods:
I don't know what was going through his head, but it was really different to see him play like that. You don't expect to see that out of him. But it happens to the best. He's human just like the rest of us.
Woods ranked second in scoring average before the cut last season, and now he has some serious ground to make up if he plans on maintaining his recent trend of strong starts to tournaments.
Health doesn't seem to be the culprit in Woods' lackluster form on Saturday, though he did collapse to the ground at one point during the final round of last year's Barclays event due to back spasms. Those back issues caused him to withdraw from a charity event that preceded the Deutsche Bank Championship.
It would be unfortunate if any nagging injury issues carried over to this season.
Most important for Woods is to rediscover his game quickly. For a man who has reconstructed his entire golf swing multiple times and been able to capture the amount of hardware he has, doubting him wouldn't be wise despite this early-season red flag.
Note: Statistics are courtesy of PGATour.com.