Tiger Woods’ two-shot penalty dropped him five shots behind 36-hole leader Jason Day. Woods fell from a tie for seventh to a tie for 19th; his second-round 71 was turned into a 73.
Woods trailed Day by three shots before the penalty. “He can make that up in nine holes,” Day said Friday evening. Now the deficit is even greater for Woods, the pre-tournament favorite after winning three times in 2013, including his previous two starts before the Masters.
A win by Woods this week would indeed be considered controversial by those who believe he should have been disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. The penalty obviously hurt Woods’ chances at a fifth green jacket and a 15th career major. But is victory even a possibility this week? History gives mixed signals.
He’s overcome a larger 36-hole deficit en route to victory here, trailing by six shots after 36 holes in 2005. It was the only time he’s won at Augusta National after trailing by more than four shots at the midway point. Woods trailed by four shots after two rounds in 2002, and was two shots back at the midway point in 2001. He was the 36-hole leader in his dominant 1997 win.
However, Woods has been in fourth place or better at the midway point during each of his four Masters victories. Now he’s barely inside the top 20.
Woods has had an over-par round in just one of his four Masters victories. Saturday morning’s penalty turned his second-round 71 into a 73. Woods opened with a 74 in 2005, then shot 66-65-71, eventually winning in a playoff with Chris DiMarco. That victory was highlighted by Woods’ dramatic chip-in at the par-3 16th.
Woods shot 140 or better in the first two rounds in all four of his Masters titles. He sits at 143 now.
“”There’s a long way to go,” Woods had said Friday. The road has gotten a bit longer.