Tiger Woods ‘back in the ball game’ after rocky start, makes cut after Day 2 of Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods will be back this weekend when he returns to Augusta National Golf Club.

Woods, who is competing in his first tournament since being seriously injured in a car accident in February 2021, fought his way through early difficulties and windy conditions to card a 2 of 74 in the second round on Friday . He is 1 over and tied for 19th after 36 holes.

“It was windy. It was swirling,” said Woods, who is 9 strokes behind leader Scottie Scheffler after two laps. “Balls were swaying on the greens. We had a few bad bursts. I hit a few bad shots. I hit a decent shot at 4 that ended up and down in a divot. It felt like s “There were so many things wrong with me. It was partly the conditions and partly me.

After a rocky start, during which Woods missed four of his first five holes, he told his caddie, Joe LaCava, “Hey, we’ve got a lot of holes to play. It’s going to be tough all day, so let’s get back to even by for the day in a way.”

“I thought that would have been a really good comeback,” Woods said. “I didn’t quite get there.”

It was another wild ride for the 15-time major champion. Woods had six bogeys – the first time he’s had so many at the Masters since the second round in 2007 – and four birdies. He’s made the cut in each of his last 22 Masters starts, the third-longest streak by any player in tournament history.

After struggling to reach the fairways in the first round, Woods went 10 of 14 on Friday. He hit 9 of 18 greens in regulation time, but didn’t scramble or roll as well as Thursday.

“I got back into the ball game,” Woods said. “I’m four shots from second, that’s the problem. But Scottie is running away with that right now. [Saturday] it’s going to be hard. There will be wind. It’s going to be cool. I think these will be the Masters that the Masters Committee has been looking forward to for a number of years. We didn’t experience it that way.”

The conditions were sometimes quite difficult on Friday. After registering bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12, Woods fell back to 3-over for the tournament and looked in danger of missing the cut. But then he took a big break on the par-5 13th hole. With 223 yards left on the hole after his tee shot, Woods fanned his second shot with a 5-wood right. His ball came to rest just short of Rae’s Creek.

Once his ball came to rest, Woods told LaCava, “Perfect lay-up.” They both laugh.

Woods was able to go up and down with a brilliant chip shot from 3 feet. The birdie brought it down to 2 over for the tournament, which was 2 shots better than the projected cut line of 4 over.

On the next hole, Woods hit a 305-yard drive down the middle of the fairway. His approach shot from 145 yards hit the green and returned towards the hole. He made a 9-footer for his second straight birdie.

Woods also had two other good birdie chances, but missed a 17-footer on No. 15 and an 11-footer on 16.

“Along the way, I kept feeling and hitting shots,” Woods said. “I was able to practice and get my touch, practice on my short game, hit a lot of putts, which was great. Go back to seeing the break. I went to Florida. I didn’t play the Tour for ages, so we don’t see a break.”

Woods couldn’t have had a worse start on Friday. After starting round 3 shots behind leaders Sungjae Im and Danny Willett, Woods hit his first tee shot into a fairway bunker and bogeyed No. 1 for the 23rd time in his Masters career. He then bogeyed numbers 3, 4 and 5. He missed a par 7-foot putt on the par-4 third hole and a 14-footer on the par-4 fifth hole. After going 7-for-9 in the first-round scramble, Woods was just 1-for-5 in the first nine holes on Friday.

It was only the second time in Woods’ career that he started an inning in a major championship with a score of 5 or worse on three consecutive holes, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. His 3-over score was his worst over four holes in 92 rounds at Augusta National.

“I haven’t played a lot of tournaments lately, so it’s been a little rusty, but I’m starting to pick up,” Woods said. “I felt good about the way I fought back [on Friday]. I could have easily kicked myself out of the tournament today, but I held on.”