SAN FRANCISCO – Tiger Woods never succeeded.
Now he’s going to have to really move.
Having played just one tournament in nearly six months, the 15-time major champion felt confident entering the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park – estimated the amount of play and training near his home in Florida was enough to not only play, but also fight.
“Of course,” he said when asked if he could win this week.
But after a solid first round, 2 under par 68, Woods was listless in Friday’s second round and failed to generate any energy induced by the red number. He only birdied two, but had four bogeys in a round of 72 that left him tied with 36 holes and eight shots behind leader Haotong Li.
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“Yeah, you know, I drove it really well today,” Woods said. “This is one of the things I wanted to clean up from yesterday. I didn’t do as good a job yesterday of driving the ball as I had to. Today was different. I drove it very well.
But there was a big but. While doing the drive-for-show part, he couldn’t take advantage of the greens. It has nothing to do with his new prototype Scotty Cameron putter which he bagged this week as he benched his iconic Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter which he used to win 14 of his 15 majors and around $ 95 million in prize money. .
Instead, his putting woes – he had 31 putts – had everything to do with speed.
“They looked faster than what they were putting on,” Woods said. “They were firm in the greens, but they weren’t putting on as fast as they looked and then as the day wore on they got a little fuzzier and even slower, and I struggled a little harder to hit the putts hard enough.
The problem, it turns out, is the speed of playing the green.
“The putting green is faster than the golf course,” said Woods. “It’s been like this all week. Again, but some of the pins were on ridges, so you put in the grain early, then you go past the hole, and it’s in the grain. I didn’t want to make the mistake of popping it over a few of these holes and left them short and low.
Right now, he’s on the wrong side of the table.
Li, who hasn’t had a top 10 since December, shot a bogey-less 65 to take a 2-stroke lead over six players, including lead Brooks Koepka, the four-time major winner who is trying to become the first player to win. this championship three times in a row since stroke play began in 1958.
Koepka received treatment for a hip problem from her trainer three times during her round, but still scored a 68.
“I woke up this morning, (the hip) was tight, and I worked and it got even tighter, and then we released it,” he said. “It was a little tight when I was hitting balls on the field, but that’s nothing to worry about. We are going to release it and it will be much better.
Two more behind in the loaded standings are the great champions Jason Day and Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Daniel Berger and Mike Lorenzo-Vera. Three back are Paul Casey, Cameron Champ and Brendon Todd. In a group of four, Dustin Johnson and Xander Sc Chaudele.
As for Woods, he still thinks he can win. Especially on a course where he won the 2005 American Express World Golf Championships and went 5-0 in the 2009 Presidents Cup. He said it’s a course, which strengthens as the days stay cool and the wind picks up later in the afternoon, which can produce some wild changes.
“Absolutely. With the points (pin placement) for tomorrow, they’ve got them in some tricky places,” Woods said. “Tomorrow I’m leaving early and hopefully I can get things done, drive the ball like I do. did it today, hit my irons a bit sharper and be a bit more aggressive on the putts.
“If I can get into position like I did today off the tee, I think I can have a really good weekend.