News & Opinion

2020 PGA: Tiger Woods backs himself into corner for weekend

Tiger Woods 2020 PGA Championship 2nd round
Tiger Woods checks the breeze Friday on the No. 3 tee during the 2nd round of the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Woods made bogey, his 1st of 4 on the day, as he shot 2-over 72.

Woods struggles on greens at TPC Harding Park and shoots 72 to stand even par, tied for 44th place and 8 shots behind leader Haotong Li of China, entering the weekend

For Tiger Woods, the trouble in Friday’s second round of the PGA Championship started when he missed a 7-foot putt for birdie on the short first hole. The putter that was the talk of Northern California a day earlier suddenly was headed for the closet after a terrible performance.

The Scotty Cameron model, which is close to Woods’ old reliable Newport 2 GSS, holed 114 feet, 9 inches of putts Thursday at TPC Harding Park. After having the green speeds dialed in for Round 1, Woods found the opposite to be true for Round 2.

Woods, who is seeking his 16th major championship and record 83rd PGA Tour victory, made the task extra difficult entering the weekend. He shot 2-over 72 and stands even par and tied for 44th place, eight strokes behind leader Haotong Li of China (scores).

Through the front nine, Woods made a total of only 12 feet of putts. Upon missing a 14½-foot par putt on ninth hole, Woods made the turn at 2 over for the day after needing 17 putts on the outgoing nine. He also was facing the potential of missing the cut.

His new putter, which is three-quarters of an inch longer and features adjustable weights under the sole, is only slightly different from the model that he used to win 14 of 15 major titles. He performed better on the back nine, holing 37 feet of putts but only about 49 feet for the day, which was less than half the distance that he sank Thursday in shooting 68.

He never looked comfortable on the greens, and he conceded as much afterward.

“I really struggled with getting the speed of the greens today,” Woods said. “They looked faster than what they were putting. They were firm coming into the greens, but they weren’t putting as fast as they looked. Then, as the day went on, they got a little fuzzy and they got even a little slower, and I struggled with hitting the putts hard enough.”

Woods will be paired with American Keith Mitchell at 10 a.m. PDT Saturday on No. 1 (tee times). The forecast calls for cloudy and cool conditions, with a light wind.

“This golf course, with the dots [hole locations] for tomorrow, they’ve got them in some tough spots,” Woods said. “I’m going off early, and hopefully I can get it going and drive the ball like I did today, hit my irons a little more crisp and be a little more aggressive on the putts.”

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