Tiger Woods won on Friday.
Surrounded by huge crowds, Tiger Woods won — he made the 36-hole cut at The Farmers Insurance Open.
Cuts used to be automatic for this guy. Didn’t give it a second thought, it was a given, seems like back in the day he made hundreds in a row.
On a sunny afternoon, Woods had to reach deep down inside late in his second round to reach red numbers. It would take that to stick around for the weekend.
After a pedestrian 72 on Thursday, things didn’t start all that well on day two over at the Torrey Pines North Course.
His opening drive of the day was wild left. It eliminated the possibility of birdie on a par five where the good players were making four.
Disaster came at the 13th. Beyond wild tee shot — it hooked perhaps 60 yards left — unplayable. That would lead to a double-bogey six and now he was behind the eight-ball.
Five straight pars, thanks to his short game, left him two-over at the turn and in mortal danger of heading home, missing the weekend. It was then that Woods found what we know he has inside him — champion’s stuff. He birdied the first, fifth and seventh holes and got to the magic number — one-under. Then at the downhill par three eighth, his mis-hit tee shot came up short and his first short-game mistake of the day saw his pitch sail long, leaving him 15 feet for par. No old Tiger this time. Bogey.
Last hole, last chance. A non-difficult par five, still the heat was on the 14-time major champion. Blew his drive right, fortunately, his lie was good enough for him to thrash a three-iron that would finish on the right side of the green, albeit a difficult 75 feet from the hole. He left no doubt that his putting is acceptable, snuggling his approach putt within two feet.
It had been 888 days since he last made a cut on the PGA Tour.
The scoreboard read 72-71 — 143. Made it right on the cutline.
Work ahead of him? “Everything,” Woods admitted. “I’ve been away from the game for a couple of years.”
He had plenty of crowd support. They were 20 deep on his last hole of the day.
“It was great,” Woods reflected. “I fought hard, it felt good. My short game’s been good all week.”
Darn right it is, it needed to be. His second day stats were pretty awful by anyone’s standards:
He only hit three of 14 fairways, eight of 18 greens. The short game saved him — just 23 putts.
He’s tied for 64th, which is saying tied for last. Seventy-eight guys made it to the weekend, but none with the resume of Woods.
He’s 10 shots behind leader Ryan Palmer, nine shots behind second place and defending champion Jon Rahm.
Tiger Woods finished the day with a win. No victory, but a win nonetheless. It was a grind, he was the first to tell us.
Baby steps, people, baby steps.
This is Tiger Woods 2018.