Wounded Tiger claws his way into weekend

Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:47pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Tiger Woods endured an ignominious afternoon at the British Open on Friday but the fierce pride of a wounded champion made sure he will at least be still in there fighting at the weekend.

Shortly before leader and British favorite Rory McIlroy made a mockery of the par-four 17th with a monster drive on the way to a nailed-on birdie, Woods had hacked his way to an ugly seven at the very same hole.

As he trudged down the 18th fairway needing a birdie to avoid missing the cut for only the second time in the 18 British Opens he has contested, the cheers that greeted the 14-times major champion felt more out of sympathy than admiration.

Eyes fixed ahead, Woods barely acknowledged the words of encouragement offered by some members of the large galleries.

With his back to the wall, however, Woods saved his best moment of the day until last, getting up and down in two from behind a deep green-side sand trap to pocket his four.

He showed little emotion, other than relief - a feeling probably shared by TV executives and Open organizers alike.

Typically, Woods refused to accept that he would simply be making up the numbers at the weekend, when he will start on two-over par, 14 shots adrift of front-runner McIlroy.

Despite looking well below his magnificent best, understandable given he had back surgery in March and had played just two rounds since in the build-up to the Open, the 38-year-old preferred to look up rather than down.   Continued...

Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts after his third shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 18, 2014.      REUTERS/Toby Melville