Saturday, May 14, 2005

Tiger's Cut Streak Ends

Tiger Woods missed the cut yesterday.

The typical professional golf tournament is played over four rounds of golf, spread over four days. The first two rounds are played with a full field players, each posting scores against the golf course's par (usually 72). At the end of these two rounds, players at the bottom half of the scoring "miss the cut". When a player misses the cut, they do not play the last two rounds ("they miss the weekend") and they do not earn any prize money.

Tiger Woods doesn't need any more prize money. He makes more money off the course through endorsements. It's clear to even casual fans that Tiger's motivation does not come from money.

He last missed a cut in 1998. 1998! He has made the cut in 142 events prior to this week's event. Before this weekend, his closest rival in "cuts made" was Ernie Els, who has 20. Tiger has only ever missed the cut three times since he became a professional golfer in 1996. The last record holder was Byron Nelson at 113 cuts made. Tiger broke that mark in 2003.

"Days when you don't have it, you don't mail it in," Tiger said. "You give it everything you've got."

Records were made to be broken. But this record of Tiger's will probably stand the test of time, like all the other unapproachable records (Joe DiMaggio's hit streak, Eric Heiden's five gold medals). Tiger's streak represents an unparalleled competitive consistency, which is fitting for one of the greatest competitors of our time.

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