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A tearful Tiger Woods said he may never get the chance to grace a British Open at St Andrews again after missing the cut on Friday with a score of nine-over-par for his two rounds.
Tiger Woods has experienced plenty in life but even he has surely not seen anything quite like what unfolded on St Andrews’ final hole on this barmy Friday afternoon.
With the sun shining and the galleries packed, he smacked his tee shot down the middle of the fairway, stepped across the Swilcan Bridge and was hit by an emotional freight train the likes of which the Old Course has rarely witnessed.
After rounds of 78-75, the cut was a distant dream, and so this was Woods’ St Andrews farewell - the end of a love affair that started 27 years ago and delivered two Claret Jugs.
Those here were hardly going to let the moment slide and tears filled the three-time Champion Golfer’s eyes as he was cheered, clapped and whooped for nearly five full minutes from the grandstand, the road and even the R&A Clubhouse.
The home of golf is so often a fitting final act for a golfing great and, though Woods intends to play on, this was a final goodbye from the game’s birthplace to perhaps its greatest son. “I'm not retiring from the game,” he said.
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SMITH ROCKETS TO THE TOP
An inspired Cameron Smith tore up the history books in surging to a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of The 150th Open. The Australian raced to the turn in 31 and kept up his momentum down the back nine, the standout moment coming with an eagle on the par-5 14th, to sign for a 64 which took him to -13 heading into the weekend – the lowest score after 36 holes in an Open held on the Old Course.
Cameron Young, who had set the pace on Thursday with an eight-under-par round of his own, kept up his challenge with a 69 sealed by a birdie on the last which will see him join his namesake in Saturday’s final group.
RORY STILL IN CONTENTION
And then you have Rory McIlroy, who while still looking for his first major championship since 2014, put himself in exceptionally strong position at this Open. McIlroy remained hot playing in one of the final pairings of the day and now sits just three strokes back of Smith entering Moving Day.
DUSTIN JOHNSON (-9) IN HOT PURSUIT
The two-time major winner has been steady through his opening 36 holes, and as a result, he will head into the weekend with a chance to grab his third major title. While Johnson is not on the television often these days, he did come into The Open having sandwiched a top-25 finish with two top-10 finishes at LIV Golf evens.
He has often thrived at the Old Course, and this week appears no different. The 18-hole and 36-hole leader at the 2015 Open, Johnson closed with back-to-back rounds of 75. He will hope for a massive improvement this weekend.
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