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NEWS: Tiger Feels The Heat, Responds By Making Cut

Tiger Woods during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Photo credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA | Framed against everything else Tiger Woods has done in his golf career, scratching out four back-nine birdies Friday at Torrey Pines North Course to make the cut on the number in the Farmers Insurance Open might not seem especially meaningful.

But Aug. 21, 2105 is a long time ago.


That was a Friday at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., the last time Woods made the cut in a PGA Tour event. That’s 889 days if you’re counting.

It only felt longer.

“I just fought hard,” Woods said after tacking on a second-round 71 to his opening 72 to sit at 1-under par through 36 holes. “That’s something I’ve done my entire career and this is no different.”

However, as Woods knows better than anyone, this is different.

In the post-spinal fusion era of Woods’ remarkable career, making the cut at Torrey Pines – particularly the last-drop-of-drama way he birdied his 18th hole Friday to get in – was a significant step in his latest and perhaps final comeback.

It wasn’t particularly pretty, especially the two big pull-hook tee shots he hit early in the round, one of which led to a double bogey on his fourth hole of the day, but Woods’ grinding finish recalled all those days when he was able to turn nothing into something.

It’s why galleries three and four deep followed him around in the cool sunshine each of the past two days and why Ryan Palmer’s 36-hole lead seems almost like an afterthought at the moment. Had Woods missed the cut it would not have been a big surprise given his lack of competition in the past two-plus years and the many challenges Torrey Pines presents.

Instead, Woods worked his way into the weekend where he can get what he most desires – more competitive rounds. It’s the one thing he can’t create practicing at home and it’s the thing he believes he most needs.

Reps. Feels. Feeling the heat.

“It’s one thing to do it at home,” Woods said. “It’s totally another thing to do it out here. One reason I hit the ball further in competition is because of adrenaline and that was the case but how much further? On top of that, the greens are firm. I haven’t seen greens like this in a very long time.”

Three shots on the wrong side of the cut line at the turn, Woods began to turn his day around by making a long birdie putt on his 10th hole. Birdies at Nos. 5 and 7 (he played the back side first) got him to the magic number of 1-under par but an ugly bogey at the par-3 eighth nearly cost him.

Intent of avoiding a greenside bunker to the right, Woods mis-hit his tee shot off the toe, leaving a long pitch shot that skipped over the green, forcing him to make 4 on the par-5 finishing hole to play on. He did it with a two-putt birdie.

What is Woods most uncomfortable with at the moment?

“Having to shoot low scores,” he said. “These guys are all going low and I haven’t done that in a long time. I’m looking forward to just kind of progressing, just keep playing, keep playing tournaments and get everything situated headed to April.”

 

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