AUGUSTA, Georgia — Tiger Woods never ceases to astound us.
Woods made the cut at the 86th Masters in his first start since November 2020, less than 14 months after being involved in a high-speed single-vehicle incident in Los Angeles that nearly resulted in his right leg being amputated. It’s incredible, but then again, it’s Tiger. He scored a 74 in the second round and is 1-over 145 after 36 holes at Augusta National Golf Club, with only 18 people ahead of him.
He overcame four bogeys in his opening five holes, his worst start to a round at the legendary Alister MacKenzie layout in his career.
“I could have easily dropped out of the tournament today,” Woods said, “but I managed to stay in.”
Following a 1-under 71 on Thursday, Woods got off to a shaky start on a cold, mostly sunny Friday afternoon that might be better suited to kite flying. A strong westerly wind blew through the Georgia woods, causing confusion in club selection and sent scores skyrocketing.
“It was a windy day.” It was a breezy day. “It was all over the place,” Woods explained. “I hit a couple of shots and got a couple of terrible gusts on top of that, and I also made a couple of awful swings.” Then I got stuck in a divot on No. 4. “OK, what else could go wrong?” I thought.
Given that he had missed four of the first five greens and had failed to get up and down on any of them, that wasn’t saying much. He drove into fairway bunkers, misfired with his irons, and missed many par-saving putts with his putter.
Woods, on the other hand, never gives up. He came to the course where he’s won five Green Jackets over the years in the hopes of winning his 16th major, and he did everything he could to make the cut and give himself a chance to write a fairytale ending to his latest comeback this weekend.
“I told Joey, ‘It’s a difficult time for everyone.’ Let’s get things back on track for the day. Let’s try to end the day on a positive note.’ There were numerous holes in front of us. “We have some par-fives and difficult holes, but it’s challenging,” Woods said. “Hopefully it continues tough for the rest of the day and everyone is battling.”
After spraying his tee shot right at the fifth hole, Woods took off his sweatshirt and swung with more ease. Woods scored his first birdie on the par-5 eighth hole, when he hit a brilliant chip to tap-in range from just short of the green in two. In 3-over 39, I’m out.
The second nine were also exciting. Woods began with flashes of brilliance, drilling his approach from 208 yards to 3 feet for a birdie putt. “Yeah, he’s still got it,” Joaquin Niemann, who played in a twosome with Woods, said of the shot.
But then Woods reverted to his bogey ways, dropping strokes at Nos. 11 and 12, the latter of which he overshot the green and was lucky his ball didn’t end up in the back bunker.
Woods steadied the ship once more, making a terrific pitch-and-run to a back-left hole spot at 13 for a short birdie and then following it up with a 148-yard approach that spun back to nine feet for another birdie one hole later. Woods finished with four pars after hitting ten fairways and nine greens in the second round. As a professional, he has never missed the cut at the Masters.
Woods stated, “It was a nice fight.” “I was able to get back into the game.”
Woods limped visibly by the conclusion of the day, and he clung to his putter for support as he walked from the 18th hole to scoring. Despite the fact that he claims he has had no setbacks this week, Woods’ aching body may require a run on ice at Augusta to get him ready for the weekend. He’s nine strokes behind 36-hole leader Scottie Scheffler, but he’s only four strokes behind second place.
Woods admitted, “I don’t feel as wonderful as I’d like to feel.” “It’s all right. Going into the weekend, I’ve got a chance. Hopefully, one of those light-bulb moments will strike this weekend, and I’ll be able to switch it on and finish it. You’ve seen people do it on the back nine with a chance. Anything can happen if you’re within five or six heading into the back nine. I need to be there as soon as possible. That is the secret to success. “I’ve got to get there.”
The forecast for Saturday predicts for colder temperatures and more wind. Woods enjoys a good challenge, and after a poor start on Friday, he knows what to expect.
“It’s going to be a challenging day tomorrow,” Woods said. “It’ll be the Masters, which I believe the Masters Committee has been anticipating for a number of years.” It hasn’t been like this before.”
Woods, the fighter who fought back from a Friday flirtation with the cutline, wouldn’t have it any other way.