Tiger Woods came up just shy of firing a 59 in Friday’s second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but missing the magical score by two measly strokes was no big deal to the world No. 1.
"Am I disappointed?" Woods asked reporters. "Absolutely not, nope. 61 is pretty good. I'm not bummed."
Woods’ "clean" card, which put him at 13-under and gave him a commanding seven-shot lead over defending champion Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood heading into the weekend at Firestone Country Club, marked the fourth time he posted a Roger Maris in his legendary professional career. While breaking 60 would have been an official first for the seven-time Bridgestone Invitational winner, Tiger pretty much shrugged and intimated, been there, done that.
"Well, the thing is, I’ve shot 59 before," said Woods, who was 9-under after 13 holes and needed two birdies in his final five holes to join a handful of big-league players, including Annika Sorenstam and David Duval, in the 59 club.
While mishits off the tees on the 17th and 18th put 59 out of reach, the pressure of trying to achieve such a feat did not cause Woods’ errors.
"I was only 9-under par so it’s not a feeling that I’m uncomfortable with," he said. "When I shot 59 [in non-tour play], I was 13 deep at the time, so that's well off where I was today. Nine, I've been there many times, and I've been 10 and 11 before, too. I had a long way to go, so I had, what, five holes to go, still a lot of golf to be played, and anything could have happened. It could have gone either way. I made some nice pars there."
Indeed, more striking to Tiger than posting a 59 was his 25-foot, par-saving putt at the last.
"Those are big putts," he said. "I think making big par putts are bigger than making birdies. It keeps ‑‑ I don't know what it is, but it's that feeling of never dropping a shot.
"I didn't drop any shots today, and I kept the card clean," added Woods, who hit nine of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation and wielded his flat stick like a magician, needing just 22 putts, according to PGATour.com. "Those are nice feelings when you're able to do that, when you're able to keep a card clean like that with no bogeys."
Woods’ 61 matched his own tournament scoring record, according to PGATour.com, which compiled a rundown of Tiger’s best tour rounds:
Tiger, by the way, PGATour.com noted, set a tournament record with an 11-shot win at Firestone in 2000 when he notched his first 61 on the track that fits him better than a well-worn golf glove.