Tiger Woods stuck in putting funk at Wells Fargo Championship

Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods stuck in putting funk at Wells Fargo Championship

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods stuck in putting funk at Wells Fargo Championship

CHARLOTTE – Tiger Woods was down to his last chance.

He’d already squandered 17 of them on an awful putting day in Round 2 of the Wells Fargo Championship and needed birdie at the 505-yard, par-4 ninth to make the cut. Only 15 players made birdie there Thursday in Round 1.

Woods had only 149 yards to the hole because apparently he can just crush his driver out in the middle of the fairway whenever he wants now. It’s a new thing.

So after a 340-yard drive he hit his approach to 13 feet and you can guess what happened next.

Woods made his only birdie and his only putt of substance on the day to get to 2 over for the week and now he likely has two more days to try to figure out these greens that remain a complete and total mystery to him.

Woods walked off the ninth green having carded a 2-over 73 and passed a few players on the practice green en route to the scoring area, Phil Mickelson among them.

“He birdied No. 9?” Mickelson said. “That’s a hell of a birdie.”

If Phil only knew.

“I certainly was frustrated, there’s no doubt about that,” Woods said. “I missed so many putts, but I’ve got to put it behind me and move on to the next one and hit the next shot with just as much commitment. And I did that all day and unfortunately I didn’t make anything until the last hole.”

Professional golfers will often say they didn’t make any putts after a round, but Woods really didn’t make any putts. He missed a 12-foot birdie try on No. 10, his first hole of the day, and that set the tone for a strange round of golf.

He was 139 yards out on No. 11 and needed four shots to get it in the hole from there. A stunned silence lingered after that bogey on to the 12th tee and it quickly became clear there would be no Friday morning charge. Just a 42-year-old man fighting to make the cut on a day when he again brought his A game tee-to-green.

The majority of Woods’ post-round words were used to describe his inability to properly gauge the speed of these greens, which he says are slower than they appear and feel.

Since it looks like he’ll be around for the weekend, an adjustment needs to be made. It would be a shame to waste another ballstriking day like the ones he had to start the week.

“Right now I’m just going to do some work and try to get some more hit in the stroke,” Woods said. “Trust that the greens aren’t that quick and I have to trust it. I have to trust what I keep telling myself.”

As of Friday afternoon Woods was 12th in the field in strokes gained: off-the-tee and eighth in stroked gained: approach the green. He was 145th out of 155 players in strokes gained: putting.

Basically, he’s doing everything a 42-year-old man four back procedures deep shouldn’t be able to do with ease and screwing up on historically the most consistent aspect of his game. He’s given no hint of any mechanical issues with the putting stroke, placing all of the blame on his inability to adjust to Quail Hollow greens he’s not familiar with.

“They normally cut the greens and make them faster, but they’re just not quick,” Woods said. “They’re firm. And that’s not a combo that you find very often where they’re firm and a little bit on the slower side. So, just got to make the adjustments.”

It’s been a ridiculous week from a statistical standpoint. Everything we knew about Woods’ game entering the week has been flipped. If he putted like he did throughout the Florida swing he’d probably be a shot or two off the lead right now. If he hit the ball in Florida as well as he is now, he’d probably have at least one win already this season.

Maybe the ridiculousness of it all is why Woods tried to keep a sense of humor after a bizarre round that ended on a high note.

“I’m on a hot streak right now,” Woods joked. “I made the last putt.”

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