Dublin, July 18
Five months with out competitors, and Tiger Woods was grinding over key pictures and massive putts on the Memorial. None was greater than a 7-foot par putt on his ultimate gap.
It saved him from going residence.
Woods missed a pair of 3-foot putts early that shut down any momentum, twice missed the inexperienced with awkward chip pictures in deep tough and needed to end birdie-birdie-par for a 4-over 76 on Friday.
It was simply sufficient to make the minimize on the quantity at 3-over 147, his highest 36-hole rating at Muirfield Village since his Memorial debut in 1997.
The Memorial, the Masters and the Arnold Palmer Invitational are the one tournaments he has performed no less than 15 instances with out failing to make the minimize.
Woods stated his again felt a little bit stiff whereas warming up and he could not transfer via his swing like he would have appreciated. He stated it was a wrestle on a heat, calm morning at Muirfield Village.
But when requested if it was sufficient to maintain him from taking part in the remainder of the week, Woods replied, “I would like to have the opportunity to play tomorrow.”
Woods was exterior the minimize when he completed, and he was helped by a pair of fellow Californians. Max Homa completed with two bogeys, and Bryson DeChambeau made a 10 on the par-5 15th gap, shifting the minimize to three over.
Ryan Palmer (68) and Tony Finau (69) managed simply fantastic and have been tied for the lead, leaving Woods 12 pictures behind going into the weekend.
The end no less than gave him an opportunity.
Woods needed to lay up from deep tough wanting the water on the sixth gap — he began on the again 9 — and missed a par putt simply exterior 5 ft to fall to six over for his spherical. He appeared to be executed. He wasn’t shifting effectively, the look of somebody who could be heading residence shortly.
But he discovered the green on the par-5 seventh and made birdie from a greenside bunker. Then, he rolled in 20-foot putt for birdie on the par-Three eighth. He discovered extra bother on the ninth, sending his tee shot to the fitting, in tough and blocked by bushes, leaving his solely choice to chip out to the green.
From there, his wedge spun again to 7 ft beneath the opening and he made that par for to have hope.
“I finished birdie-birdie-par,” he stated. “That’s about the only positive to it today.”
He wasn’t positive what to make about his again, which has undergone 4 surgical procedures, the final one to fuse his decrease backbone. He has recovered effectively sufficient to win three extra instances, together with the Masters final 12 months for his 15th main.
Woods final performed February 16 within the chilly at Riviera, the place he completed final within the Genesis Invitational with a 76-77 weekend. He attributed stiffness that week to the chilly.
As for Ohio in July? Woods stated he felt fantastic when he awoke, not a lot whereas going via his observe periods.
“It wasn’t quite as good as I’d like, and it. It is what it is,” he stated, including later, “It’s going to happen more times than not.”
What actually irritated him was his placing. He three-putted from about 35 ft on the par-5 11th, lacking a 3-footer for birdie. Two holes later, after an outstanding play from the tough to proper aspect of the inexperienced, he rolled a quick putt to three ft and missed that par putt.
And then when he chopped up the par-5 15th for bogey, the remainder of the day turned a battle.
From a fairway bunker proper of the 17th fairway, he despatched his shot excessive on the hill into tough so deep it took him a couple of minutes to seek out it. With the greens so brittle, he hit that via the placing floor into extra tough, and he needed to make an 8-foot putt to flee with bogey.
Making the flip, Woods had an ungainly lie along with his ball within the collar of a bunker. He caught all ball and despatched that lengthy, via the inexperienced and right into a bunker, did not get up-and-down and took double bogey.
His subsequent shot sailed to the fitting towards a hazard, and Woods merely hung his head. He nonetheless managed to have sufficient left on the finish to present him an opportunity.
Woods is a five-time winner of the Memorial, and his subsequent victory would set the PGA Tour profession document of 83. Also looming is the primary main of the 12 months on the PGA Championship in three weeks.
For a 44-year-old who gained the primary of his 82 tour titles at age 20, time is not on his aspect.
“Aging is not fun,” he stated.
“Early on in my career, I thought it was fantastic because I was getting better and better and better. And now I’m just trying to hold on.” AP