DUBLIN, Ohio – All looked good in the world of Tiger Woods in Friday’s second round of the Memorial at Muirfield Village.
And then it didn’t.
All it took was one bad 5-wood from the middle of the fairway at the 15th hole.
In less than 10 minutes, Woods went from getting within striking range of the tigerleaders to digging himself a big hole he’ll have to climb in Saturday’s third round of the tournament he’s won a record five times.
When his day he called a “mixed bag” was over, Woods signed for an even-par 72 and stood at 2 under for the tournament, seven shots out of the lead set by the trifecta of Troy Merritt (66), H.K. Lee (67) and Martin Kaymer (68). Jordan Spieth was one back after a 70 and a large group two back was headlined by Rickie Fowler (68) and Adam Scott (66).
Wood was 4 under and in the middle of the fairway at the par-5 15th when a train wreck occurred. Licking his chops with just 238 yards to the front of the green and 256 yards to the hole, Woods pulled his 5-wood left and was faced with a problematic chip out of deep rough on a steep hill 30 yards from the hole.
He needed three chips to reach the green and then horseshoed his bogey putt from 5 feet. Just like that, he turned a potential eagle and a certain birdie into a double-bogey 7.
“The second shot, by far,” Woods said when asked which shot on the hole disappointed him the most. “I could hit that ball 50 yards right of the flag and be fine. Anything inbounds right of the flag I have a chance to make birdie. I just can’t afford to miss it left where that flag is. And I did.”
As he walked up to the green, Woods pretended to try and break the shaft of the 5-wood over his right knee on three occasions.
He gathered himself, but the first chip was nearly impossible.
“The way it was sitting I couldn’t play a flop shot. I thought I might whiff it. I was trying to hit it in the rough short and have it (bounce) over the green near the bunker and then pitch back up and make par,” Woods said. “I wasn’t trying to hit the ball on the green. I was trying to his hit it past the flag and didn’t do it.”
On the second chip, the lie was once again difficult, and he didn’t reach the green. He parred in from there, with his last chip of the day, on the 18th hole, coming up just short of falling for a birdie.
“I’m going to have to,” go low on the weekend, Woods said. “Seems like everyone is bunched together. I just need a round like what (Justin Rose) played today. He made six straight 3s on the front nine. I just need to get something going in the front nine where the pins are definitely gettable.”
Rose, who was once 4 over early in the second round, shot 63 and is three in back of the leaders. In his last 14 holes, he made two eagles and six birdies. Meanwhile, Woods made just three birdies and had to fight off a day of the lefts. He missed left with tee shots on the first, second, fifth and sixth holes.
“Predominantly my miss today was left. And yesterday it was right. Hopefully my misses tomorrow will be straight at it,” said Woods, who hit balls on the range for 20 minutes after the round. “Just the way it was. I just really wasn’t able to feel as comfortable as I’d like. But I was hitting it flush. It really isn’t that much that’s really that wrong.
“It just was kind of a mixed bag. I didn’t really get anything going today. I was just kind of plugging along, I just wasn’t able to get anything really going. All of us were watching Rosie get things going on the front nine. I just wasn’t able to make anything happen today.”
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