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Tiger Woods will beat cut record this week

When Tiger Woods steps on to the first tee in the opening round of the Tour Championship later on Thursday, he will eclipse the PGA Tour's consecutive cut record set by Byron Nelson in 1949.

Going into this week's event, the world number one has made the cut in 113 successive events. He tied Nelson's total two weeks ago at the Funai Classic in Orlando, Florida.

Since the Tour Championship does not have a cut, Woods has no worries about breaking the record.

If he plays in the Mercedes Championships in January, the first event of 2004, he will take his streak to 115, since that tournament also has no cut. The Mercedes is only for winners from the 2003 season.

Woods did not play the event last season because he was recovering from knee surgery. His record streak will be different to Nelson's in that it will consist of 24 non-cut events.

In the 1940s, Nelson achieved his streak by finishing in the money, typically among the top 25, 113 times. In the tournaments that Nelson made money, he never finished lower than 17th.

Woods has only had to finish in the top 70 to make the cut.

"The thing about it was it was so different, so little money, so fewer places (in the money), and sure there were not as many great players, that's true," Nelson said of the 1940s.

ANOTHER JOB

Nelson, now 91, was a part-time professional when he achieved his cut record. In his era, the money was limited and players could not make a living without holding down another job.

In Nelson's case he was a professional at Inverness Country Club in Toledo, Ohio. In 1945, he took a leave of absence to play full-time on the tour, his only full-time stretch during the streak.

"It means quite a bit," Woods said of his streak. "Because it means I've had to play consistent golf at a high level for a long period of time.

"Certainly there are times when I probably should have missed and I got lucky to have made the cut."

Woods's closest missed cut was in the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational when he was outside the guillotine line, tied for 71st after two rounds.

But since one of the top 70 included an amateur, Matt Kuchar, Woods and the others tied for 71st made the cut.

In the 2003 Masters, Woods was on the cut line at five-over-par and had to get up and down from the greenside bunker on the ninth, his final hole. He holed a three-foot putt to make the cut.

"That putt was either going in or it was going off the green," Woods said later.

While there is no way to compare either streak since they came in such different eras, Woods's streak is unlikely to end soon, according to Nelson.

"If something doesn't happen to his health or get hurt or loses his desire, which I don't think he's going to, I can't imagine him ever missing the cut," Nelson said.

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