Facing the prospect of missing the cut for back-to-back weeks for the first time in his illustrious career, Tiger Woods went out at The Players Championship Friday and played more like what he expects out of himself.
Striking the ball crisply and putting steadily, Woods set the course on fire over about an hour of play. He birdied four holes in a row — Nos 8 and 9 on the front and the first two on the back side, Nos. 10 and 11.
The roars got louder with each putt he sank. Starting the day at plus-2, that vintage stretch moved him to 2-under, where he finished for a 68, two shots clear of the cut line.
Unlike Thursday, when he had just one bird on the par 5s, Woods birdied three of the four long holes Friday. The key: he drove the ball much better, hitting 71 per cent of the fairways. Thursday he hit just seven of 14.
It will take another steady round Saturday for Woods to potentially creep up the leaderboard. He ascended from 100th place to 30th, and but is six shots off the lead, held by Matt Kuchar, Kevin Na and Zach Johnson.