Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the star attractions of The Jim Justice Show, will not be playing this weekend at the Old White. However, they are still walking away with heavy pockets. Greenbrier owner and tournament chairman paid Woods and Mickelson appearance fees to add the event to their schedule. In fact, Woods reportedly will earn a larger paycheck than the eventual winner (at least $1.5 million) and Phil will take home about the same ($1 million), according to CBSSports.com’s Steve Elling.
Probably not the best $2.5 million investment Jim Justice has ever made.
Play was suspended on Friday afternoon for about 2.5 hours due to inclement weather in the White Sulphur Springs area. There are 15 guys who have yet to complete the second round and will return at 8:30am on Saturday to play their remaining holes (since they only have a few holes left, players who will likely miss the cut were given a hall pass by Tour officials to WD if they wished). But the projected cut is one-under and it’s mathematically impossible for that number to change.
This is the first time Phil (+2) and Tiger (E) have both missed a cut in the same week as professionals. The only previous time both failed to see weekend play at a Tour event was the 1993 HP Byron Nelson Championship, with Woods competing as an amateur.
Woods made an eight-footer for birdie on No. 18, but it was too little, too late.
“I didn’t quite have it,” said Tiger after posting a one-under 69 on Friday. “I drove it really good today and I just did not have the feel for the distances. The ball was just going forever. I know we’re at altitude, but I just couldn’t get the ball hit pin high no matter what I did, and subsequently, I made some bogeys.”
(The ball really does fly far out here — I played with hickory clubs and couldn’t believe how long I was hitting it.)
Coming off his third win of the season at the AT&T National last week, this is the second cut Tiger has missed in 2012. Last time he had the weekend off twice in the same season was in 2005.
“It happens,” said Woods, who is ranked No. 4 in the world. “You miss cuts out here. I’ve been doing it for a long time (as a pro) and I’ve missed nine cuts. So one every couple of years, I guess.”
Mickelson, who was making his second start at The Greenbrier, struggled again and shot one-over 71 for the second day in a row. Last year he played poorly, as well, posting scores of 70-73 and stayed for the weekend, but not to play golf. Instead, he enjoyed some of the wonderful activities available at the resort — there’s everything from white-water river rafting, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing and more. This time around, he put more focus on his game. Unfortunately, the result was the same.
“This is certainly a fun place and a place that we all enjoy,” said Mickelson. “Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out the golf course yet, but I’m going to keep working on it.”
Mickelson just can’t seem to figure out how to play the Old White, but he also hasn’t been playing well in the past month. He withdrew due to “mental fatigue” after posting a 78 in the first round at The Memorial. Then he shot 76-71-71-78 at the U.S. Open at Olympic to place T65.
“I really have been (a little off in the past few tournaments),” admitted Phil. “I don’t know what to say about that. It hasn’t been great. The parts don’t feel that far off, but I haven’t been putting them together. It doesn’t feel bad off the tee, it doesn’t feel bad with the iron play, it doesn’t feel bad chipping or putting, but I’m making a lot of, you know, some loose drives here or there, some loose iron shots here or there, missing some short putts here or there, and just haven’t been putting it all together.”
Again, not all is lost. They’re still walking away with padded pockets (despite the Tour’s no-no policy for appearance fees, but there are obviously ways around it). Not their fault or problem. Who wouldn’t take seven figures to just show up?
Meanwhile, Webb Simpson birdied the 18th to get to nine-under for the outright lead. Jonathan Byrd, Jeff Maggert, Jerry Kelly and rookie Charlie Beljan trail by one. (Martin Flores is at eight-under, as well, but has to return in the morning to play two holes.) In other news, John Daly is playing surprisingly well. He shot scores of 68-67, putting him at T14 at the midway mark. We’ll also see 62-year-old Tom Watson, who shot 70-68, this weekend.
Well, The Great Jim Justice Show will still go on. Just without his two lead attractions.
(Getty Images/Hunter Martin)