Tiger Woods made an early and emotional exit from The Open, possibly for the last time at St Andrews, after missing the cut on Friday.
Woods was among a number of Open champions who failed to make the cut. Zach Johnson (2015 winner), Louis Oosthuizen (2010), Woods (2005, 2000) and John Daly (1995) all finished over par after two rounds. The cut was at even-par 144.
Oosthuizen came the closest to making it the week, posting 74 to miss by one shot. Woods was the farthest out of that group. He opened with a 78 and followed with 75 for his worst 36-hole score in six times playing the Open at St Andrews.
Woods acknowledged it could be his last.
“It’s very emotional for me,” he said. “To me it felt like this might have been my last British Open here. And the fans, the ovation and the warmth, it was an unbelievable feeling.”
It marked the first time in three events since returning from a 2021 car crash that nearly cost the 15-times major winner his right leg that Woods failed to make the cut.
Phil Mickelson, who signed a lucrative deal to join the LIV Golf Series, also saw his hopes of reaching the weekend disappear with a disastrous second round back nine scarred by three bogeys and double-bogey that left the six-time major winner on five-over after signing for a 75.
Also, four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, another PGA Tour member now with the LIV Series, stumbled to a double-bogey, bogey finish and a 75 to miss out on the weekend by four strokes.
Australian Cameron Smith, meanwhile, dazzled in the Scottish sunshine to lead by two shots. Smith birdied his first three holes and picked up three more shots before sinking an eagle putt on the 14th green on the way to a flawless 64 that lifted him to 13-under-par.
American first-round leader Cameron Young was the closest challenger on 11-under, one shot ahead of Norwegian Viktor Hovland and Irishman Rory McIlroy, who carded a solid 68 to stay in contention to win his fifth major title.
Dustin Johnson was a further shot back on nine under with world number one and fellow American Scottie Scheffler another stroke behind alongside Britain's Tyrrell Hatton.
"It's obviously a really good spot to be in. I feel like I've been in this spot a lot over the past couple of years, and things just haven't quite gone my way yet," said Smith, who won the Players Championship in March.
"I've just got to be really patient over the weekend. I think the golf course is going to get a lot harder and a lot faster. So just be patient and make good putts."