Tiger Woods teed off at 7:40 a.m. on Friday morning at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte four strokes off the lead, having shot even par on Thursday. He needed to play reasonably well to make the weekend. He did not play reasonably well until the final hole, finishing the day at 2-over, just one shot above the cut line. He survives to play the weekend, but barely.
Nothing great. While Woods’ driver was decent enough, and his iron play was reliably strong, he couldn’t putt to save his life. After missing several seemingly makable putts, Woods finished his round with a clutch birdie, his only one of the day. That wound up being a key shot to put him above the eventual cut line at 3-over.
What went right? What went wrong?
As for what went right … well, Tiger didn’t set himself on fire? There’s that. Otherwise, this was an uncharacteristically weak round for Woods, even by the reduced standards of 2018 Tiger. Starting on the 10th hole, Woods bogeyed the 11th and 14th, making the turn at 2-over. He left a critical bogey on the table on the sixth, with the cut line looming. And he couldn’t convert key birdie opportunities on 7 and 8, his 16th and 17th holes. Knowing the peril he faced on his final hole, Woods fired a strong drive and a solid approach, then drained a 15-foot birdie to finish the day at two over.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 4, 2018
What does this mean for his comeback?
Don’t call it a comeback. At this point, Woods is just here. He’s playing at a reasonable level — decent but unspectacular — and while he’s not hammering the top of leaderboards, the way the most optimistic Tiger-watchers predicted, he’s also not completely torpedoing himself out of tournaments.
This was a stumble, no doubt about it, but at least Woods didn’t injure himself or anyone else. He’ll be back, and he’ll play better than he did here.
Woods will play out the next two rounds but he’ll tee off Saturday morning nine strokes back of leader Peter Malnati. His next tournament is the Players Championship, an event he’s won twice. After that, it’s on to the rest of the majors.
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