Tiger Woods. (AFP Photo)
SAN FRANCISCO: Tiger Woods says he is going to have to hit crisper irons and clean up his putting on Saturday if he is going have any chance at capturing his 16th major championship.
Woods fired a two-over par 72 Friday to make the cut at the PGA Championship, but his even-par 140 total leaves him eight shots behind leader Li Haotong of China.
“Tomorrow I’m going off early and hopefully I can get it going, drive the ball like I did today, hit my irons a little bit more crisp, and be a little bit more aggressive on the putts,” said the 15-time major champion.
Even if his game isn’t as sharp as it used to be, history has shown it is never wise to count Woods out, especially after his stunning Masters victory last year.
Woods teed off for the second straight day with former world number one Rory McIlroy and current No. 1 Justin Thomas. The marquee trio all made the cut with Thomas sneaking in on the cut line at one over 141.
McIlroy is one stroke ahead of Woods at one-under 139 after a roller-coaster round that included four consecutive birdies beginning on No. 7 followed by a triple bogey on the 12th.
Woods switched to a longer putter this week and is still getting used to it. He is pleased with the way he is driving the ball, but the new putter let him down.
“I really struggled with getting the speed of the greens today,” said the four-time PGA Champion. “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, and then as the day wore on, they got a little more fuzzy and got even slower.
“I struggled even a little bit more hitting the putts hard enough.”
Woods has played only one tournament since the PGA Tour returned (a T40 finish at the Memorial) and has shown mixed results in the few events he’s entered this season.
When coronavirus hit, Woods took five months off to heal himself and fix his swing. He returned two weeks ago with mixed results at the Memorial.
Woods had better luck with the weather in Thursday’s first round than he did on Friday as heavy gusts whipped around the TPC Harding Park course.
“Early in the round I had a couple putts that were downwind and the wind was blowing the putts a little bit,” he said.
“J.T. got affected a couple times today with the wind gusts, and I did on one hole pretty badly.
“If I can get myself in position where I did today driving off the tee, I think I can have a really good weekend.”