Tiger Woods' middling play in the 2014 season continued again on Friday at the Honda Classic, as the No. 1 player in the world scrambled with some amazing recovery shots around the green just to get to even-par and make the cut right on the number. He's 11 shots back of the lead, and the way he's hit the ball off the tee, and in particular with his irons on approach shots into the green, it will be tough for Woods to have much of a chance making noise over the final 36 holes. As Golf Channel, aside from one momentary blip after the first 18 holes in Dubai, Tiger has not sniffed the top 10 on a leaderboard this year.
Aside from one momentary blip after the first 18 holes in Dubai, Tiger has not sniffed the top 10 on a leaderboard this year.
Tiger straddled the cut line of even-par all day, but the back nine was especially precarious on almost every shot. Woods was wild off the tee for much of the day, but his irons and longer wedges were very poor and made it a challenge just to make par on almost every hole. He rarely hit greens in regulation (just 1 GIR on the back 9), but his scrambling and wedges from around the putting surface repeatedly saved him.
On his first four holes off the back nine, Tiger missed the green in regulation. His tee shots, however, didn't exactly give him good looks. He completely lost it right on No. 11, a tee ball that Golf Channel's Roger Maltbie described as "miles and miles right." Tiger then decided to pull one the other direction on the next hole at No. 12, starting it left and yanking it further off the fairway. Shottracker on Golf Channel picked up the unsightly ball flight:
Despite the misadventures off the tee and all the poor approach shots, Woods still played the first four holes in even-par to stay above the cut line. He momentarily dipped to 1-over at No. 11, where he struggled just to make bogey with an impressive flop shot from the right intermediate rough.
The wedge work helped avoid the double bogey there at No. 11, and then pulled Woods back to even two holes later at No. 13. After hitting one of worst approach shots (with a short pitching wedge no less) you'll ever see from the world No. 1, Tiger opted to chip from the front fringe to a back hole location. Again, the short game saved him and he sunk it for birdie to get back above the cut line.
That was his third and final birdie of the day, his short game and work on the par-5s keeping him alive for the weekend for the final number of 69. Given all the sloppy shots, you could look on the bright side and just commend him for getting in the red.
Tiger Woods’s golf swing is, as always, the subject of much debate as the world No. 1 looks to get back to his winning ways.
Woods hit just one green in regulation on the back side but the scrambling kept him alive for the weekend. If the board stays as it is and the PGA Tour sends groups out in two on Saturday, Tiger may have a date with old friend Sergio Garcia, who finished one hole ahead of Woods with back-to-back birdies to get to even-par and make the cut.
While Tiger made the weekend, his chances of contending over the final 36 holes are slim. This is the same venue where he made a huge Sunday charge with a round of 62 in 2012, but the way Rory McIlroy is rolling right now, Tiger's shot of putting the pressure on his Nike stablemate seems gone at this point. Woods said he's using the month on the Florida swing to prep for the Masters, and he'll need to get something going this weekend to get his game back in shape because it's been nothing but mediocrity through his first five PGA Tour rounds this year. Time to sharpen things up, starting with his final 36 at the neighborhood PGA National.
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