CHARLOTTE - Tiger Woods missed the cut for only the sixth time in his career on Friday, bringing his first regular PGA Tour event of the year to a premature end.
Woods carded an error-strewn seven-over 79 in the second round of the Quail Hollow Championship, only his second event since he was embroiled in a sex scandal that led to a five-month break from golf.
"It does bother me, no doubt," Woods said of missing the cut.
"But at least I get the weekend to watch and see how it's done, how real players play golf," he added with a wan smile. "Hopefully I can piece it together for next week and be ready to go."
The embattled superstar found the water with his second shot at the par-four 14th, and couldn't get off the course fast enough after that.
He made back-to-back double bogeys for only the second time in his professional career and his 79 gave him a nine-over 153, eight strokes above the projected cut line.
The dreadful performance came three weeks after Woods finished tied for fourth at the Masters, his first tournament since revelations of marital infidelity threw his life into turmoil.
As at the Masters, where access is stringently controlled, Woods was largely greeted with warmth by fans at Quail Hollow, but it didn't help him.
"My short game was terrible," Woods said. "I three-putted twice there back-to-back and you can't do that.
"I chipped poorly, putted poorly but for the most part I didn't really hit the ball that poorly until the end, when it was already pretty much out of reach."
The 79 was his second-worst score as a professional, after the 81 he shot in fierce winds at Muirfield in the 2002 British Open.
He last missed a cut at last year's British Open, and before then at the 2006 US Open.
Until Friday, he had not missed a cut at a regular US PGA Tour event since 2005.
Woods' woes will raise questions as to whether he is able to focus on golf while he tries to sort out his personal problems.
Rumors are swirling that Woods' wife, Elin, is ready to file for divorce, something Woods has not been directly questioned about.
Woods has played 188 tour events that had a cut since turning professional in 1996. As well as his six missed cuts, he withdrew from the 1998 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am after two rounds.
That tournament had a 54-hole cut, but Woods did not return for the third round.
Woods' previous missed cuts on the PGA Tour were the 1997 Canadian Open, the Byron Nelson Championship and Funai Classic in 2005, the US Open in 2006 and the 2009 British Open.
American Billy Mayfair was the tournament leader with an eight-under 36-hole total. He was one stroke in front of Argentina's Angel Cabrera - who played with Woods.
As to whether he gave up as he fell further adrift, Woods said: "At that point in time it was pretty much out of reach and I was just trying to stay out of Angel's way (Cabrera). He's the one who's leading and that's kind of what you're supposed to do."