Tiger Woods British Open Notebook: Tiger Woods is in big trouble; Phil Mickelson heads home

The quest by Tiger Woods to become the first player in more than 50 years to win three consecutive British Open titles is in serious jeopardy.

Woods struggled to a 3-over-par round of 74 in Friday's second round at Carnoustie Golf Club to drop into a tie for 20th place in the championship. The world's No. 1-ranked player enters Saturday's third round a daunting seven strokes from the top of the leaderboard, where Sergio Garcia sits.

"That was certainly interesting," Woods said. "One over par for the tournament, but still not out of it."

While Woods admittedly hit several poor shots, he said he was proud of the way he battled back after facing adversity.

"I could have easily shot myself right out of the tournament today," Woods said. "But I kept myself right in there."

Woods, who shot a 2-under 69 in the first round, had a horrific start to his round. Standing on the No. 1 tee box with an iron in his hands, the 12-time major champion hooked his tee shot out of bounds and wound up with a double-bogey six.

"It was such a poor shot because the commitment wasn't there," Woods said.

Still, Woods said he tried to maintain a positive approach.

"It's not like you don't make bad swings in major championships -- that's part of the deal," Woods said. "The whole idea was not to make anything worse than six, and I didn't do that."

Woods bounced back to birdie the second hole. His round included another birdie at No. 14, but it wasn't enough to offset bogeys on holes 5, 8 and 18.

Even with the forecast calling for bad weather, Woods said he believes it will still be possible to make a move in the third round.

"You shoot anything around par tomorrow (and) you'll be looking pretty good," Woods said. "(The course) is playing difficult. It's not going to be playing any easier this weekend, so you're just going to have to go out there and grind it out and try and stay away from big mistakes."

McIlroy clinches silver medal

Teenager Rory McIlroy couldn't duplicate his first-round success at the British Open, but is guaranteed to take home the silver medal awarded each year to the low amateur of the championship.

McIlroy followed his 3-under-par 68 in the first round with a 5-over 76 Friday. At 2-over 144, the 18-year-old from Northern Ireland was the only one of the five amateurs in the 156-player field to make the cut.

"Just to play the weekend at the Open is fantastic," McIlroy told reporters after his round. "Hopefully, I can enjoy the next couple of days and play some good golf."

On Thursday, McIlroy was the only player in the championship to avoid making a bogey. That streak ended Friday on the par-4 second hole when his tee shot landed in heavy rough and he failed to recover.

Weir counting on ‘extra ammo'

When it comes to winning major tournament titles, Mike Weir said one can't overestimate the value of experience.

As the top player on the Open leaderboard with a major to his credit, Weir hopes to put his experience to good use. The former Masters champion shot a 3-under 68 -- the best score in the second round -- and is tied for third at 3 under, three back of Garcia.

"I've heard Tiger say it many times and (I) reiterate what he said that until you've done it, you don't know you can do it," Weir told reporters. "When you have that in your back pocket in the last nine holes of a major, it's like extra ammo. You really know that you can get it done."

Big names headed home

Phil Mickelson was among the most notable players who failed to make the cut Friday at Carnoustie. Coming off a playoff loss in the Scottish Open, Mickelson followed his first-round 71 with a 77 and missed the cut by two strokes at 6-over 148.

Mickelson admitted to reporters that he was surprised to be headed home early.

"I thought I was playing a lot better than this," Mickelson said. "I was starting to play some pretty good golf last week. I don't know why I have putted these greens so poorly. They're very good greens."

Joining Mickelson below the cut line were former British Open champions Paul Lawrie, Justin Leonard, John Daly, Todd Hamilton, Nick Faldo and Tony Jacklin. Geoff Ogilvy, David Toms and Davis Love III -- all former major winners -- also failed to make the cut.

July 21, 2007

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