Tiger Woods seemed to be perplexed one hour into his second round at the Masters Tournament on Friday afternoon. Due to a bad chip on the opening hole, the team had made a bogey. With a mediocre pitch on the par-5 second hole, he blew a good opportunity to make birdie. He missed a downhill par on the third green, which would have been a good score.
After a sloppy tee shot, an awkward bump-and-run approach shot, and a bogey on the fourth hole, things only got worse. On the next hole, he made another bogey, making it his fourth in the first five holes.
Woods’ shoulders sagged, he shook his head, and he chuckled, as if he were mocking his own incompetent state of affairs. Normally, he would not behave in this manner.
However, Woods’ accuracy under pressure from Thursday’s rousing first round, in which he posted a one-under-par 71, seems to have left him on Saturday.
With gusts gusting up to 20 miles per hour at Augusta National Golf Club, Friday was a different kind of day from the outset. Perhaps Woods’ surgically repaired right leg was painful as he walked 18 holes on Thursday in his first competitive round in 17 months after having it replaced.
The fact that he seemed to be lacking the confidence and resilience he had shown in his previous round may have been excused on the day in question.
Woods, on the other hand, quit snickering at himself. He fought back to keep his round on track, making four birdies in his following nine holes to keep his round on track. His play the remainder of the day was far from flawless, and at times it was even more unpredictable, but it had the same kind of commitment, flare, and drama as a classic Tiger Woods golf game.
Woods’ performance in the second round was notable for many reasons other than his ability to rebound from a shaky start. Physically, he seemed to be able to handle the hilly Augusta National course more readily than he did in the first round on Thursday. His limp was less noticeable, and he was able to navigate the several elevation changes more rapidly and aggressively as a result.
A booming shot to the left side of the fairway on the long par-5 eighth hole set the tone for Woods’ second-round comeback. This gave him the greatest angle into his second-round putting pin position. Following that, Woods hit his second shot from the fairway woods, which fell just to the right of the putting surface, and from there, Woods lofted a soft, spinning chip that landed eight inches from the hole for an easy tap-in birdie.
Despite missing the devilishly devilishly sloping and high green on the ninth hole with his approach ball, he skillfully halted his third shot within six feet of the cup before draining a par putt that he sorely needed to make.
It had been an ineffective first nine holes for Woods, who finished with some energetic, skilled, and smart golf to make the turn at two over par for the event, which was still within striking distance of the names at the top of the leaderboard.
When Woods split the fairway with a draw on the 10th hole, things started to look bright for him. He took a brave approach to a hole that was just 12 feet from the right edge of the green, and made par. The safest course of action would have been to go for the centre of the green instead of the edge. Woods chose to ignore this theory and aimed his shot towards the tiny strip of green to the right of the flagstick instead.
Woods struck two nice shots on the freshly remodelled 11th hole, which played as the hardest hole on the course in the first round, and seemed to be on his way to a much-needed par from just off the green. However, his short chip ended up way beyond the hole, resulting in another bogey.
Because of the setback, Woods may have made a mental error when he decided to hit his seventh iron at the diabolic par-3 12th hole, which was playing against a strong headwind at the time. In this case, a 7-iron would have been too much club for the 155-yard hole, and his tee ball soared far past the green, landing near an azalea bush before bouncing into a bunker behind the little 12th green.
Woods would finish the day with a total of four pars. It was a shame not to take advantage of the par-5 15th hole, which presented a guaranteed birdie chance for the majority of the players in the field. Woods’ years of expertise at Augusta National were on display at the par-3 16th, when he hit his tee shot into the hill far right of a left pin location. Even though the ball spun and rolled to within nine feet of the hole, Woods’s putt came up just short of the cup’s edge. The 17th hole was similar in that it was well played but lacked a birdie putt that was consistently made.
Woods’ approach shot on the last hole, the 18th, sailed far over the cup cut in the bottom side of the green, resulting in a par. Nonetheless, his tremendous downhill putt from near the back fringe came to rest about five feet from the hole, setting up a putt that Tiger Woods sunk with grace and ease.