Augusta, Ga. (AP) – Tiger Woods’ second round at the Masters on Friday seemed like a constant journey from one end of the spectrum of success to the other, with his fortunes changing at an almost glamorous pace during an extended afternoon.
Not his best, not his worst, but good enough, especially considering what he did 14 or more months after the car accident that caused his right leg to almost collapse.
Playing in his first competitive event against tour professionals in about 18 months, Woods’ return to the Masters will extend over the weekend. His Round 2-over 74 on Friday left him in 1 over for the tournament and tied for 19th – although fugitive leader Scott Schaefler trailed by nine shots.
“One leg was cut off,” Cady Joe Lakava said later, while Woods was signing his card and preparing for the post-round trip to Butler’s cabin. “It wasn’t that bad, was it?”
LaCava was proposing the right perspective. Any golf that Woods plays for a lifetime will be a bonus. Old Tiger hated a day when Augusta National had four birdies and six bogies. As the sun began to fall on the Masters on Friday night, the New Tigers certainly did not celebrate their scorecard the way it looked, but they did accept where they were.
“It was a good fight,” Woods said. “I’m back in the ballgame. I’m four shots back in seconds.”
The day turned into a bit of a rescue operation after four bogies in its first five holes.
The Topsy-Torvy, good-bad, wildly sloping portion of the day began with a birdie on par 58, then a disappointing pass on 49 when his approach from 143 yards went so far to the right that he went down. His 9-iron in follow-through. He was followed by perhaps the boldest shot of the round, his second 10th in Utrai Par-4, when he went to the pin, blocking his approach from 200 yards out and making just 10 sub-par scores in that hole. Yield throughout the day.
“I could have easily got myself out of the tournament today, but I kept myself in it,” Woods said.
The 11th followed the boogie, the 12th followed the bogie, the 13th followed the birdie, the 14th followed the birdie. The roller-coaster stopped there, four purses arrived and finished his afternoon – Woods lamented leaving some birdies there, especially in par-3 16 – and he’s playing on the weekends.
Woods was received at the Augusta National on Sunday. He didn’t say the last time he played so much golf in a week – “It’s been years,” he would give – and he kept it a secret that his rebuilt legs would never come back the way they once were.
The scoreboard says his position is not ideal, as keeping 36 other players behind with 36 holes can never be called ideal.
But its history says it’s not as disgusting as it looks. In his last 18 appearances at the Masters, Woods has risen 13 times over the weekend. “Light bulb moment,” he calls them.
“You see, with the opportunity to go back to Nine, the boys can do it,” Woods said. “Anything can happen if you go to nine in five or six. I have to go there. That’s the main thing. I have to get there.”
It’s done. Often, in fact.
He has made moves over the weekend that have seen him finish four rounds at least 11 places above the leaderboard after half a dozen times two rounds. And to be honest, in some years where he didn’t take big steps on the weekends, he didn’t have to go that far anyway – since he was already close to the top of the standings.
“I’m proud that my whole team has brought me to this position,” Woods said. “We worked hard to get me here where I had a chance and then, as I said, there were no setbacks this week, and we didn’t. We continued to make progress.”