Rude: Tiger's flaws resurface in unlikely spot
DUBLIN, Ohio Tiger Woods had just punctuated a second-round 74 with a closing bogey when someone asked whether he deduces that it’s not always going to be his week.
“I haven’t won every tournament I’ve played in,” Woods answered.
It just seems that way sometimes. After all, the world No. 1 arrived at the Memorial Tournament having won four of his six stroke-play starts on the 2013 PGA Tour. He has won the Memorial five times in 13 previous starts. Hence, expectations were higher than they have been anywhere the past four years for the most scrutinized person in golf history.
Given all that, it is quite surprising to see Woods 10 shots off the midway lead with a 1-over-par 145 total. Normally one to dominate par 5s, he is an uncharacteristic even par in eight tries on Muirfield Village’s long holes.
The 529-yard 15th, in particular, had his number. Or, shall we say, his high numbers. He bogeyed the hole Thursday and then made an odd double bogey in Round 2 amid difficult conditions that included wind gusting to 25 mph.
“And I didn’t exactly play my best, either,” said Woods, who made a pair birdies to offset two bogeys. “It’s a little rough out there. It’s not that hard to make bogeys and doubles on this golf course. You miss it in the wrong spot, get the wrong gust, it’s tough.”
You might say his iron game was off in the swirling wind Friday. He missed only one of the 14 fairways but then failed to hit greens in regulation eight times. And then his chipping wasn’t all that good. During two days, he got up and down six of the 13 times he missed greens, and his chips ended up an average of 10-plus feet from the hole.
Clearly, he will need to clean up that part of his game if he is going to end a five-year winless streak in major championships at the upcoming U.S. Open.
Woods also has had some putting issues, particularly at No. 15 Friday. He four-putted there, remarkably, from 16 1/2 feet. He hit his first putt 4 1/2 feet by, then power-lipped one that went 7 feet by and then missed.
“(Putts) were moving all over the place (because of wind),” Woods said.
There was more to his problems than that. His pace was off. The greens were quicker than they appeared to him.
“I had a hard time with the speed,” he said. “They don’t look that fast, but they’re putting fast. They have a little more moisture on them than they did yesterday afternoon. It was kind of a little mental thing I was struggling with.”
Bottom line, Woods has shot a higher score only once in 53 Memorial rounds. That was a 75 in 1997, in his first start here.
Still, he didn’t appear too downcast.
“I’m not too disappointed with it,” Woods said. “I’m not that far off.”
Nor was he ruling out a sixth Memorial trophy, even though he’s 10 back. That kind of comeback would be highly improbable, naturally, but he said, “We’ll see what happens.”
His best chance, of course, would be if he went low in calm morning conditions before wind kicks up for the leaders.
At times, even Tiger Woods has to hope for the perfect storm.