Aug
3
2012
Day 2 at Firestone: Tiger drives for dough, putts for…two-over 72
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

G*dd*mn wedge game is killing me

New day. Fresh greens. Same golf course. And similar results for Tiger Woods in the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Friday was almost like déjà vu for Woods, who has won 7 times at Firestone CC — he hit the ball well, but his wedge game stunk and he couldn’t buy a putt, leaving him 13 shots out of the lead.

The scorecard tallied up to a two-over 72, following his even-par 70 in the first round.  Woods didn’t hit as many fairways and greens as he did on Thursday, but that wasn’t necessarily what cost him two extra strokes. It was the same thing we’ve seen and the same story we’ve heard for the past few months after posting a crappy — or less than satisfactory — score.

Tiger’s shoddy short game (which includes his wedges and putting) and solid ballstriking have become such a frequent storyline that the 14-time major champ is even making self-deprecating remarks.

“Okay, sweet,” said Tiger when asked to summarize his past two days. “I hit it good, made nothing, and we can all go eat now.”

That’s an excellent assessment. I mean, what else is there to say, right?

Again, same story — it’s frustrating when he’s hitting it so well and not scoring.

“I’m playing well, that’s the thing,” said Tiger, who has won three regular PGA Tour events in 2012. “I’m hitting it well.  I’m making nothing.  Certainly I didn’t hit it good enough to be 11-under par, but I certainly hit it good enough to be right there in the top 5 going into the weekend, no problem at all.

“But yesterday I was 3-under through 11.  If I would have just kept that pace up through the end of yesterday and into today, I’m fine.  But I didn’t do that.”

Meanwhile, Jim Furyk is tearing it up at Firestone. He followed his excellent seven-under 63 with a four-under 66, a 36-hole total of 11-under.

Woods worked on his putting after shooting an even-par 70 on Thursday and figured it out on the practice green, but he said he couldn’t apply it in competition.

“It was more path than anything else,” said Tiger, explaining his putting woes. “I had my lines good, but it’s just setting my path out. I was trying to marry the two.

“I was trying to figure it out last night on the putting green and couldn’t get comfortable enough on the golf course.”

Finally, on the par-4 8th (his 17th hole of the day) it clicked and he rolled in a 14-footer for birdie, only the second one he made all day.

Woods needed 29 putts to get around Firestone CC, four less than the 33 strokes he took on Thursday, but that number is deceiving because he hit fewer greens on Friday. (Does that make sense? He hit 14 greens in regulation in the first round and 10 in the second round. So he had fewer looks for birdie on Friday and let’s assume he got up-and-down four times, which is where you can attribute the four fewer putts he had.)

He admitted his putter has been streaky this season — but that’s golf.

“I get in these little spells where it’s hot or cold,” said Tiger. “Generally I was a decent putter over the years, but lately it’s been very streaky, I’m making everything or I make nothing.”

Wow, that’s actually a rather revealing quote from Tiger, saying he’s not as good a putter as he used to be…well, he’s not as consistent.

Unlike Thursday when he said he putted poorly, Woods felt like he stroked it well today.

“Today I had good speed and just still not quite right,” he said.  “And the putts I did pure, they were just lipping out.  So that’s fine.  But I just need to get more consistent where I just don’t hit a bad putt.  As soon as I start doing that, everything will be fine.”

Maybe this is positive omen for Tiger and next week’s PGA Championship, aka Glory’s Last Shot. In the season’s previous three majors, Woods won in his last start preceding the Masters (Bay Hill), U.S. Open (Memorial) and the Open Championship (AT&T National). He left those tournaments — the only ones that actually matter to him — empty-handed and still seeking to break his major drought.

Obviously, there is no correlation whatsoever. I’m just throwing it out there because golfers are incredibly superstitious (and can be totally irrational when it comes to stuff like this).

(AP Photo/Phil Long)