In search of his fifth green jacket and third straight major, Woods made six bogeys over the first 13 holes of his second round.
He dunked shots in the water on No. 12 and No. 13, and even though he did a nice job to save bogey and par on those holes, he reached the 14th tee box at 5 over par, tied for 43rd place and eight strokes behind co-leaders Justin Rose, Tim Clark, Zack Johnson and Brett Wetterich.
The projected cut looked like it would include everyone within 10 strokes of the lead - a whopping 66 of the 96-player field as of midday. Without the 10-stroke rule, the cut would have included only the top 44 players and ties.
Woods' tee shot on the 12th hole hit in front of the green and rolled back down the hill and into Rae's Creek. He stared dejectedly at the ground after that bad shot. After his drop, he made a 25-foot putt to save a bogey - a hollow victory at best.
On the par-5 13th, where birdie is usually the goal, Woods dunked his second shot into the creek. Only a pitch to 4 feet helped him save par there.
Nothing ever seems impossible when the world's best player is involved, but he was testing the limits of Augusta. Nobody has come from more than eight strokes down to win heading into the weekend, and that margin was made up more than 50 years ago, by Jackie Burke in 1956.
Midway through the second round, Augusta was not shaping up as comeback territory. Cool temperatures, sunshine and light breezes made the course even firmer and faster than in the opening round, when there were more than twice as many bogeys as birdies.
"I wanted to make a lot of pars," said Wetterich, a Masters rookie who shot 73 to finish at 2-over 142. "You always hear great players say pars are great in majors."
Most majors, perhaps, but the Masters has always been known as a place for big comebacks and low scores on the back nine. But maybe not this time.
Wetterich is 2 over on the par 5s through two rounds, eschewing the aggressive style he usually plays.
"I feel pretty comfortable out there," he said. "I don't feel like I shouldn't be out there. I don't feel like I shouldn't be at the top of the leaderboard. I feel like I'm playing pretty well."
Among the few others who were playing well were Paul Casey, who made the turn in 33 and, playing in the same group with Woods, preceded Tiger's water ball on 12 with a shot that nearly went in the hole. He made birdie and was 3 over for the tournament.
And Jim Furyk, who shot 71 and was at 2 over through two rounds.
"Honestly, I don't think I can strike it as well as I did today," Furyk said. "I need to make more putts."
Defending champion Phil Mickelson teed off in the afternoon and made bogey on No. 1, not the best start in his quest to improve on his 76. After the first round, he didn't seem too discouraged about his chances even though nobody who has shot over 75 in the first round has ever won the Masters.
"If I can shoot a 68 or better, I could get myself back to par and get back in it," Mickelson said.
He may not even need to do that.
Quite simply, nobody was taking control of this tournament.
Padraig Harrington tried to make a run, opening with three straight birdies but giving a bunch of that momentum back with a double bogey on the par-4 seventh and another bogey on 10. He was 3 over, counting an opening-round 77 in which he struggled with his short game and made an 8 on No. 15.
"I left a number of shots out there," Harrington said. "It's my short game, really."
Others with afternoon tee times included Ernie Els, who shot an opening-round 78 but still thought he had a chance.
Dean Wilson shot a 35 on the front nine Friday to go to 2 over. He finally made his first birdie of the tournament on No. 8.
"But when you look up and no one else is doing it, it gives me a boost," he said after the opening round. "I didn't hear the roars Augusta National is famous for."
There were even fewer on Friday.