Thox Oaks, California. – It’s not 26 putts.
This is not a 10-for-13 show from Tea.
It’s not really a score: the second round, 6 – under 66, which is 10 shots more than his sloppy start to the week at the JoJo Championship.
If Tiger Woods is honest at this point in his unparalleled career, success on the scorecard will not be measured, it will be with countless minutes.
For example, this week Woods is likely to retain the PGA Tour title for the first time since 2014 on his own course. In a decade of Hero World Challenges playing at Sherwood Country Club, Woods has never made it out of the top 2, and after comparing Sam Snaad’s 82 Tour titles to the JoJo Championship for at least a year, it checks all the boxes for potential success on paper.
But this is a different Tiger.
He wants to win and yes, the second one still sucks. But in the great scheme of life that imitates art, he makes progress.
Like everyone else, 2020 showed no mercy towards Woods. He has only one top-10 finish this year and returned at Torrey Pines in January. Woods has played just five events since the pandemic relaunched in June. So, even if Thursday’s 4-over card is not where he wants to be, understand that this number is only a part of the equation.
That progress came Friday. He Bird made three holes in a row starting at No. 4, finishing 11th with one and playing his last three holes under 2. Despite finishing the day he started, a dozen shots came into the lead, and he had something to build on.
“It simply came to our notice then [on Thursday]. I never missed a moment because I played par 5s so poorly. Today is different, ”Woods said. “Keeps rolling down for a better start.”
That’s it. After playing Sherwood’s five par-5s in 3 overs on Thursday, Woods became the most respectable 4 under Day 2. It’s always more complicated than it looks, but for Tiger, the two-day turnaround can mostly be traced to his game.
He is more accurate. He was more aggressive. He is capable of working the ball in both directions.
The next thing to note is that the Masters are three weeks away in particular. Unless Woods changes the schedule dramatically and adds the Houston Open to his dance card – at least publicly flirting – it will be his last tune-up before the end of the year major. It’s 11ThOur epiphany that led him to victory in the Masters last year and began to move the ball more consistently from right to left.
“I think I could have drawn the ball a little better. I need to get a little more sharp with it, start setting it a little higher than I currently have,” Woods said. “I had two holes like setting it up and hitting high draws and I did that. At Augusta I have to do it more often than I do here. ”
Calling another tour event a tune-up for the Masters would be a party foul to Woods, or any other player, but in this case, it is. With a dozen strokes back on the course built for speed and birdie, Woods is unlikely to pick up No. 83 this week.
But with Grandslam jewels waiting, he can prepare his game. He can practice that high draw and have a vision of how it will play in the 10thTh Hole at Augusta National.
“No. 6 [at Sherwood] Like number 10, setting up, trying to draw the high tomahawk out there, I was able to do it yesterday and today, ”he said. “So yeah, there are a couple shots, yeah, that’s exactly what I was going to face in Augusta. I spent a few weeks, so yes, I’m already imaging some of those shots and I ‘ve been out of the US Open for a while. ”
Sorry Woods was not overly excited after his bounce-back, 6-under round. It was a high draw from the sixth tee and back, which he ignored this time on Friday.
“I am moving very well. It’s good to have four weeks off, the training sessions are good, so everything is kind, ”he said.
Tiger was happy with his game and his score on Day 2, but his progress made him smile.