By Jay Betsill
At the midway mark of the PGA Championship, the season’s final major has seen the world’s No.1 player Rory McIlroy continue the dominance he has shown in winning the Open Championship and Bridgestone Invitational and essentially wraps up the worst professional year of Tiger Woods’ illustrious 18-year PGA Tour career. Woods’ missed cut at the PGA Championship was only his fourth missed cut in a major as a pro and since he is not playing next week at the Wyndham Championship, he is officially not going to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs.
“I scored well, but the golf wasn’t quite as pretty as yesterday at times,” McIlroy said. “Neither was the weather, obviously. Played well for the most part. There were some key up-and-downs to keep the momentum going in the round.”
Once the morning wave was over at Valhalla Golf Club, the marquee group of the afternoon was Woods playing along with past PGA Championship winners Phil Mickelson and Padriag Harrington. While Mickleson would fire a 4-under 67 to move him to 3 strokes behind McIlroy, Woods experienced more back issues on the range and grinded through his second consecutive 74 to finish 15 strokes behind the leader. His other major championship missed cuts came at the 2006 U.S. Open, 2009 Open Championship and 2011 PGA Championship. He holds the PGA Tour record for consecutive cuts made at 142, from 1998 to 2005, which ended at the Byron Nelson in Las Colinas.
“I need to get stronger. As I said the other day, I need to get my glutes strong again, my abs and my core back to where I used to have them. They are just not quite there yet. Obviously by playing you can’t burn the candle at both ends. I need to get stronger physically and be back to where I was.”
Jason Day will be playing in the final group with McIlroy on Saturday as he shot a 65 to come in at 8-under, one shot behind McIlroy. Jim Furyk is also at 8-under, followed by Rickie Fowler, Ryan Palmer and Mikko Ilonen at 7-under.
Notables headed to the weekend include Steve Stricker (T9, -5), Henrik Stenson (T9, -5), Ernie Els (T26, -2), Adam Scott (T26, -2) and Sergio Garcia (T53, Even). Big names missing the cut were US Open champion Martin Kaymer, Canadian Open winner Tim Clark, 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, Dallas native Jordan Spieth and 1991 PGA Championship winner John Daly. Defending champion Jason Dufner withdrew with an injury on Thursday.
Weekend coverage is on TNT and CBS.