A cut above

Tiger Woods’ streak of 142 straight made cuts
remains the gold standard of golf records

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Tiger Woods’ impossible, untouchable, downright laughable streak of 142 cuts made in a row looks better with every passing year. It began without fanfare as he shot a second-round 6-under 66 at Torrey Pines North at the rain-delayed 1998 Buick Invitational (now Farmers Insurance Open). He made the cut by six shots, hardly newsworthy given he’d missed only one cut in his professional career, at the 1997 RBC Canadian Open. But Woods would go on to make every PGA TOUR cut for the next seven-plus seasons, a story that built like a slow-moving storm.



Oddly, the start of Woods’ made-cuts streak would not become apparent until six and a half months after it began. He was one of 34 players who didn’t return for the last round of the rain-plagued ’98 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am – which started the week before Torrey Pines but did not reconvene and finish until August – thus missing the 54-hole cut. As a result, his made-cuts streak started at Torrey, the week after Pebble on the original schedule. Woods’ streak included 31 no-cut events (The Sentry, WGCs, TOUR Championship), but Byron Nelson and Jack Nicklaus, Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, on the list for consecutive made cuts, also had no-cuts events in their totals.



Woods first surpassed Nicklaus (105 straight made cuts) and then Nelson (113). The streak came during Woods’ prime, during which he won 37 times, including the stretch in 2000 and ’01 in which he held all four men’s professional major championship titles. His cuts streak spanned presidencies, Y2K and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Woods made the cut on the number four times, and eight times he made it by a shot. He even made it after suffering two four-putts in the first two rounds of the 1998 U.S. Open at Olympic Club. He just kept going.

It’s the most amazing record in sports. I don’t know how you can’t wake up on a Thursday and something hurts, or you don’t feel good. It’s a testament to how well-rounded his game was because if something was off, he still had five other things that are still the best in the world.

Max Homa



Cut No. 1 was utterly unremarkable. After his second-round 66 at Torrey North, Woods shot a third-round 68, but that was all the weather would allow. He finished 11 under and tied for third, a shot shy of a playoff between Skip Kendall and winner Scott Simpson. Woods could have joined them were it not for his gaffe at the 15th hole, which he bogeyed from 93 yards, missing a 3-foot putt.



Woods’ four closest calls with the cut began with the 1999 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. He opened with rounds of 74-72, his second round starting fast with birdies on three of the first six holes. He bogeyed Nos. 7, 10 and 13 before making a routine par on 18. He was only a little more than a year into the streak, which attracted little notice, and ultimately finished T56.



By the 2002 Farmers Insurance Open, the streak was four years old, and everyone knew the stakes. Woods opened with a 66 at Torrey Pines North but shot a shocking second-round 77 on the South. He made four bogeys and two doubles. His three birdies were enough, however. The last, at the par-5 18th, allowed him to make the cut on the number. He rallied on the weekend to tie for fifth.
The 2003 Masters Tournament was another adventure. After signing for a first-round 76, storms meant Woods had to finish Round 2 on Saturday morning. He double-bogeyed the fourth hole and was on the cut line at 5 over as he came to his last hole, the par-4 ninth. He drove it into the trees, hit his second into a bunker and splashed out, leaving a crucial 3-foot par putt. “That putt I had on the last hole either was going in or off the green,” he said after making it for a second-round 73.



At THE PLAYERS Championship in 2005, Woods again didn’t have his best but did just enough, shooting 70-73. He made a double-bogey 7 at the 11th hole in Round 2 but bounced back with a birdie on 12. Out of position on 18 after missing the fairway right, he pitched out rather than skirt disaster, and accepted his bogey to make it on the number.



The end came in Texas at the 2005 Byron Nelson, on May 13, 2005. On the cut line at Las Colinas Resort, Woods’ 7-iron approach found a greenside bunker on 18, and he splashed out to about 15 feet. His par try grazed the right edge, giving him his first weekend off in more than seven years. Ernie Els suddenly had the longest active made-cuts streak on the PGA TOUR (20), while Annika Sorenstam (48) was the LPGA leader.

It's just so outlandish. It doesn't make any sense. If you if you don't have your game, obviously the top guys, there's a few people out there that make just about every cut, but even those guys miss a cut or two every year. If you don't have your game, it's really hard to make the cut. You really can't put into words how impressive that streak is.

Sepp Straka

Woods’ streak is still comparable to some of the greatest and most unbreakable streaks in sports: Joe DiMaggio’s 56 consecutive games with a hit, Cal Ripken’s 2,632 straight games played and Jerry Rice’s 274 games in a row with a reception.

Tiger’s a great competitor, and all the great competitors are grinders. When you’re not playing your best, you have to grind it out and figure out how to get it done, and Tiger’s record of the most cuts made is something very special.

Jack Nicklaus, who made a career-best 105 straight cuts from the 1970 Sahara Invitational to the ’76 World Open



Indeed, the quality that led to Woods’ streak is the same never-say-die ethos he’s brought to the late stages of his career. After getting ankle-fusion surgery last April and returning at the Hero World Challenge in December, he’ll be in action this week at The Genesis Invitational at L.A.’s Riviera Country Club, where he also is the tournament host. His presence this week is a reminder of his focus and grit, a stubborn refusal to quit that may be unequalled in the history of the game.

This is more intestinal fortitude than anything else. Days when you just don’t have it, you don’t mail it in. You give it everything you’ve got. I don’t care what kind of game you have; you somehow try and find a way to get it done.

Woods at ’05 Byron Nelson, where it ended