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May 31 2013

3:17 PM

Woods: I'm not that far off

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

DUBLIN, Ohio -- A day fought hard. That's how Tiger Woods described the round of 74 he shot at Muirfield Village on Friday.

Swirling, gusty winds, which blew, by most accounts, harder than was the case on Monday afternoon, had Woods and everyone else in survival mode. Deceptively fast greens didn't help the cause, either.

Even so, Woods couldn't be too disappointed in his performance.

"I'm not that far off," said the defending champion who already has four PGA TOUR wins this year. "On a golf course like this, with the wind gusts like this, it's tough."

The tone for Woods' day was set in that 39 on the back nine, his first of the day. Included was a double bogey at the par-5 15th hole where he three-putted from 5 feet, power-lipping the first to a more distant 7 feet for the second.

"It's a little rough out there," Woods said. "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. We had a few shots in our group that ended up in special interesting spots."

Woods did manage to birdie the two par 5s on the front side, which were two of the four easiest on the course during the second round. He couldn't quite coax it home, though -- nearly dumping his second shot into the creek in front of the green on the way to a final bogey.

"Tough conditions out there and I didn't exactly play my best either," Woods said candidly.

Woods actually hit all but one fairway but missed eight greens. He took 30 putts for the second straight day on greens he says are putting faster than they look -- "It was kind of a little mental thing I was struggling with out there," Woods said.

And not only did the wind play havoc with balls that were airbone, it also affected the ones on the green.
 
"They were moving all over the place and it's moving balls," Woods said. "It's tough. You try and stay below the hole as best you can. But sometimes you have to get the ball on the green." 

Woods' round was his highest at Muirfield Village since he shot 74 in the second orund of the 2009 event -- which the five-time Memorial champ also happened to win. Of course, Woods had opened with a 69 that year but now finds himself behind the eight-ball, trailing Bill Haas by 10 strokes.

But Woods certainly wasn't ready to concede.

"We don't know if we're going to go two tee starts, because the storm is coming in, or off one tee," he explained. "We're supposed to have very little wind this morning, but ended up blowing pretty hard but now it's picking up again. We'll see what happens, see what they do. 

"f we get all bunched together, go off two tees tomorrow morning, it could be different, to get it spread out, see what happens."

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