After carding a lackluster 71, Tiger Woods brought his A game to the second round of the Buick Open. He came out roaring to go, starting the day 6-under-par through 5 holes. He chipped in on the third hole for eagle. He finished with a stellar 9-under-par 63, which included 8 birdies and one eagle! With half the field still on the course — which includes first round leader Steve Lowery — he is currently T3, 10-under-par for the tournament and two shots back from Michael Letzig, the leader in the clubhouse.
Yesterday Tiger said, “I not only have to play well to make the cut, I got to play well to get myself back in contention.” He sure kept his word. Sometimes I feel like when he has a mediocre or bad round the first day, it only gets him more fired up for the next three days. Actually, I mentioned to my roommate last night that Tiger played poorly, but followed with saying he’d go low the rest of the tournament. (Yeah, I’m a genius.)
So does this mean he’s “back”? Well, I didn’t realize he’d gone too far away to begin with. He has been a little inconsistent lately — at least by “Tiger” standards. With his 63 today, understandably, there are still skeptics. On Thursday it looked like he was blocking his shots and just couldn’t find his swing. And he couldn’t make a putt for his life. He said, “Probably one of the worst putting days I’ve ever had. It was just terrible.” (Haven’t we heard that a few times this season? US Open is first that comes to mind.) Compared to 32 putts in the first round, he only needed 27 today.
Two weeks prior to the British Open he won his own tournament, the AT&T National. Naturally, he was the overwhelming favorite to win the Open. It was downright shocking when he missed the cut – only the second time in his career at a major championship. Yeah, he played terribly and had a few temper tantrums (which to my dismay has been THE story over the past few weeks). In his previous 9 starts he placed in the top ten every time, and won not once, not twice, but thrice.
Tiger remains winless in the three majors so far this season. The last of the year, the PGA Championship, is just two weeks away. Questions continue to linger about his knee and the swing changes he’s made with Hank Haney. There have been rumors that he might be switching coaches. Personally, I think that’s being a little dramatic. So he misses a cut and hasn’t won a major — everyone acts like the apocalypse is coming. Get a grip.
The guy is allowed to have a few bad days — even a poor tournament now and again. Tiger is a true competitor. Everyone goes into a tournament playing to win, but he’s on a different level. Forget second place. If he doesn’t win, it doesn’t matter whether he finishes 3rd, 8th, 25th or last. Guess what? We place the same expectations on him. Well, the thing is that even if the chances of his winning every week are pretty darn good, there are still 150 other players in the field and probably about 80% of them have a shot to win. Newsflash: That’s the nature of the game.
All eyes will be on Tiger the next two rounds. Yeah, what else is new? Will we see the “real” Tiger at the PGA Championship? Perhaps this week will be a good indication. We’ll be looking for more consistent play, especially with his putting — as we all know it’s the key to winning majors. If he continues to drop putts, no doubt he’ll be atop the leaderboard more than once over the next few weeks.
[Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]