TULSA, Okla. — Tiger Woods will be there for the weekend at the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club.
Having to avoid a bogey in the stretch to stay on the right side of the cut line, the 15-time major champion did better than that, with a birdie on the 16th hole. He shot 1-under 69 in the second round on Friday, which pushed him to 3 of 36 holes.
Although Woods isn’t positioned on the leaderboard where he probably wants to be (he was tied for 52nd when he finished), he’s still sticking around for the final 36 holes, which is more than the PGA stars like world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Daniel Berger can say after missing the cut. Woods has made the cut in 18 of 22 PGA Championship starts.
“You can’t win the tournament if you miss the cup,” Woods said. “I’ve won tournaments – not major championships, but I’ve won tournaments on the cut count. There’s a reason you fight hard and you can give yourself a chance on weekends. You don’t It could be hot This weekend I’m going to have to go low It’s going to be different The wind is going to come from the north It’s going to be cooler.
Woods is on just his second official tour since being seriously injured in a car crash outside Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2021. He appeared to be more comfortable and engaged on Friday than he was. was in the first round, when he shot 4 of 70. He played in the morning heat Thursday and appeared to benefit from a later tee time Friday.
When Woods was asked to describe his level of discomfort after Friday’s round, he replied, “All of it.”
Woods was also on the good side of the draw in terms of the weather; he didn’t have to contend with the wind gusts of up to 25 mph that plagued other players on Friday morning. The wind had largely died down by the time Woods and his playing partners, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, started their game.
While Woods limped and grimaced at times, he struggled and again battled the pain in his surgically repaired right leg. There were also glimpses of the old Tiger. The par-4 16th hole, the third toughest this week, was a perfect example. He hammered his tee shot in the middle of the fairway, giving him 209 yards to the hole. He hit his ball four-footed with a 5-iron, which was probably his best iron shot of the tournament. Woods’ birdie was only the ninth on the 521-yard hole.
After suffering a double bogey on the par-3 11th, Woods came back to the right side of the cut line by birdieing eight feet on the par-5 13th. He grimaced badly after hitting a layup shot on that hole. He made another big save on the par-3 14th, sinking a 14½-footer after a poor chip shot just off the green.
Even with Woods’ leader, Will Zalatoris, down 12 shots, he still holds out hope that he can somehow get back in the running. It would probably take a few rounds like what Bubba Watson did on Friday, shooting 7-under at 63.
“Hopefully I can pull a number like Bubba did today tomorrow,” Woods said. “That’s where I’m thinking right now. I have to do some things physically to get there tomorrow and it’ll be a quick turnaround. That’s the reward you get for just making the cut. You can start early on the le tomorrow, and I hope I can get it.
“The weather is supposed to be a bit tougher and a bit rougher, and I hope that’s the case. If that’s the case, hopefully I can get a good lap and at least move up the board , put me within striking distance on Sunday. I’m pretty far, but you never know. Major championships are hard to win. We’ve seen guys with big leads or who have made big comebacks, so you don’t know never.
Woods looked to be in good shape for the cup after he birdied a 10-and-a-half-foot putt on the par-4 10th hole that moved him to 1 under in the round. But on the next hole, the par-3 11th, he misfired his tee shot to the left. He hit his second shot into a greenside bunker, then couldn’t get up and down eight feet. Double bogey 5 dropped it to 5 for the tournament.
It could have gotten worse for him on the par-4 12. After hitting his tee shot into the fairway, Woods hit his second shot into another bunker. After breaking away, he made a 14-footer to save par.