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Pinehurst missed cut ‘may or may not be’ Tiger Woods’ last U.S. Open

PINEHURST, N.C. – The chance that the 124th U.S. Open will be Tiger Woods’ last is unlikely, yet the question lingered for an uncomfortable moment before the three-time winner of his national championship responded.

“As far as my last [U.S. Open], I don’t know what that is. It may or may not be,” he said.

Woods needed a special exemption into this week’s championship as he continues to struggle with injuries that have limited him to just five official starts in the last two years. It’s extremely likely the USGA would offer him another special exemption if he applied, but after missing the cut at Pinehurst No. 2 he wasn’t interested in looking ahead.

“I’ve only got one more tournament this season [next month’s Open Championship], I don’t think even if I win the British Open I’ll be in the [FedExCup] playoffs,” Woods said. “Just one more event and then I’ll come back whenever I come back.”

Woods struggled to a 74 on Day 1 at Pinehurst, the byproduct of poor iron play and pedestrian putting, and Friday’s second round was more of the same. He hit just 10 of 18 greens in regulation and lost shots to the field in strokes gained: putting for the second day, on his way to a 3-over 73.

“It was probably the highest score I could have possibly shot today,” he said. “I hit a lot of good shots that just didn’t quite go my way, or I hit good putts, and then I put myself in a couple bad spots with some bad lag putts. But again, as I said, it was probably the highest score I could have shot today.”

Late last year at the Hero World Challenge, Woods said he hoped to play an event each month but this season he’s managed starts at the Genesis Invitational (withdrawal), Masters (60th), PGA Championship (missed cut) and U.S. Open (missed cut). Next month’s Open Championship at Royal Troon will likely be his last official start of 2024.