Tiger Woods had to be optimistic entering the 2015 Open Championship, having flashed improved form in his last start and returning to a venue where he'd captured the Claret Jug in 2000 and 2005.
The magic of Woods' dominant heyday continues to elude him, though, no matter where he tees it up. He missed his second straight cut in a major at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland with a score of seven over par. It took longer for his exit to become official, as weather delays kept him on the course until late Saturday afternoon.
Failing to build on the modest momentum of his tie for 32nd at the Greenbrier Classic, he posted rounds of 76 and 75 to miss the cut by seven strokes.
It was evident after his opening-round 76 that Woods was in for a long tournament, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info:
Even during Woods' precipitous fall throughout the 2015 season, he was able to put forth a good showing at the Masters, finishing tied for 17th at five under on a course he knows well.
ESPN.com's Jason Sobel pointed out that this was a noteworthy missed cut for Woods, even as that's becoming a common occurrence:
At what point is it OK to say he will never be the same? This might be that time.
Justin Ray of the Golf Channel poured more salt in Woods' already-massive wounds:
Woods will be 40 in December, and barring a miraculous turnaround, he'll be hard-pressed to take away any silver lining from the 2014-15 campaign other than gratitude for a new beginning entering the next calendar year.
Prior to The Open Championship, Woods insisted his best golf wasn't behind him, per ESPN.com's Bob Harig: "I know some of you guys think I'm buried and done, but I'm still right here in front of you. I love playing. I love competing, and I love playing these events."
Yet there comes a point when Woods' poor play seems to take over his entire body, from his posture to the way he steps up to the ball, as Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 in Cleveland noted:
Body language says so much about a player. It's easy to be happy when things are going well, but the response to struggles and adversity can say more about an athlete. Woods doesn't seem to be having fun, which is understandable given his issues, and he's struggling to bounce back from his mistakes.
He tends to perform better at familiar venues, so it's somewhat alarming that he wasn't able to score well amid soft, favorable conditions.
Woods dominated St. Andrews' Old Course in 2000 and 2005, posting a combined score of 33 under par in his two wins. And the last time the British Open was played there in 2010, he shot a three-under.
Looking forward to the next time he tees it up in a major at the PGA Championship doesn't inspire a lot of confidence for Woods either. The contest for the Wanamaker Trophy is at Whistling Straits, where Woods finished tied for 24th in 2004 and tied for 28th in 2010.