An Afternoon of Grit and Grind: Tiger Makes the Cut at PGA Championship
Tiger Woods clawed his way back from a back-nine, double bogey to climb inside the top 70 and ensure his spot in the field for the final two rounds at Southern Hills Country Club.
“I had to grind and go to work and I did and made it,” Woods said after his round about fighting back to make the cut. “Hopefully this weekend I can get a hot weekend with some tough conditions and you never know.”
After an opening-round 74, Woods began his second round at 4-over par. Woods went out in even par, 35 and needed to make up ground on his inward nine to climb inside the cut line. He wasted no time getting to work. Woods parred the par-4, 10th hole by draining a 10-footer to jump to 3-over par.
But all hope of Woods making the cut was seemingly dashed at the short par-3, 11th where he pulled his tee shot next to the creek that runs behind the green. Woods wasn’t able to keep his second shot on the putting surface as it crossed to the opposite side and went into the greenside bunker. He made double bogey to drop back to 5-over par and outside the cut line.
That’s when everything changed.
The Tiger Woods that became famous for seemingly willing the ball into the hole countless times throughout his career, hitting the shots he needed in the moments he needed them most, came to life again after that double bogey on Friday.
At the par-4, 13th hole, Woods stuck his approach to eight feet and converted the putt for birdie to get back to where he started the day at 4-over par.
At the par-4, 15th, when he looked like he might drop another shot when his approach landed in the bunker off the back of the green, he managed an incredible up and down to three feet to salvage a par.
“Fifteen, that was a tasty little bunker shot there,” Woods said after his round. “That was a good one. I liked that one. I didn't like putting myself there, but I liked executing the shot.”
Then, at the par-4, 16th, playing 209 yards, Woods put his tee shot to 4 feet for another birdie to erase the double bogey he’d made just five holes prior and get back to 3-over par. At the par-3, 17th, Woods came away with a par but the stress of what he was enduring, mentally and physically, was no doubt taking a toll. As he walked off the green, he closed his eyes and tilted his head to the sky. What he was thinking, most will never know, but for that brief moment he seemed to show an inward glance at the battle he was fighting.
At the PGA Championship, Woods is competing in just his second major championship since surviving a rollover car accident that injured both his legs and nearly led to his right leg being amputated. During Thursday’s round, Woods was in visible discomfort, but through much of his round on Friday, he didn’t display the same sort of pain he had on Day 1.
At the par-4, 18th hole, Woods gave himself one last birdie opportunity when he put his approach from 206 yards to 30 feet. The putt rolled up within a foot of the hole and Woods tapped in for a second round, 69 to ensure his spot in the field for the weekend at the PGA Championship.
“This weekend I'm going to have to go low. It's going to be different. The wind is going to be coming out of the north. It's going to be cooler,” Woods said about his plan for the weekend.
“There's a mission, the mission is to go and win this thing somehow.”