The Tiger Woods fairytale won’t be coming true at St Andrews as the 14-time major champion and three-time British Open champion shot a dismal four-over-par 76 to open his account.
It took just two holes to know Woods was in trouble as he struggled in prime scoring conditions on the Old Course, leaving him a distant 11 shots behind the early pace.
The 39-year-old now faces just the second missed cut in his 19th start in the tournament at the historic venue he dominated to win in 2000 and 2005.
When his last putt fell, only two players in the 156-man field were faring worse than Woods.
It is his worst score at a British Open at St Andrews since a 78 in the final round in 1995 when he was a 19-year-old amateur, and by far his worst as a professional having never carded worse than a 73 before.
After punching an iron down the famous first fairway, Woods then dumped his approach into the burn short of the green for his first major mistake, forcing a penalty drop and an opening bogey.
He continued his conservative strategy of playing short off the tee on the second hole, leaving him well back of playing partners Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen, who pumped drivers.
Although he found the fairway, Woods then left his approach woefully short.
An average effort with his putter from off the green left a lengthy par putt and when it took a tough 360-degree lip-out the American was two over through two and back-pedalling.
Another bogey followed at the par-five fifth hole where he again laid up but found the rough, stayed off on the left in the deep stuff on approach and then chipped on to the green some 90-feet from the hole before three-putting.
Short approaches and missed par putts earned bogeys on the seventh and 10th holes to really have the former world No.1 battling.
He earned some reprieve on the par-5 14th when he manufactured his first – and only – birdie of the round and salvaged a long par on the Road Hole to stop the bleeding.