Tiger turns in vintage round at Hero World Challenge
December 02, 2016
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Interview: Tiger WoodsTiger Woods discusses his bogey-free 7-under 65 in the second round of the Hero World Challenge.
NASSAU, Bahamas – The club twirl. The strut. The early tee pick up and walk. And then the double fist pump and putter slap. It was all on display as Tiger Woods produced a vintage performance in Round 2 of the Hero World Challenge.
Woods proved that if he remains healthy he can once again be a contender in the world of golf with a bogey-free 7-under 65 at Albany, sending the first warning shot across the bow for PGA TOUR players as they prepare for 2017.
While his opening round had flashes of brilliance but ran out of steam, Round 2 importantly had both brilliance and stamina.
“I really had it dialed in both ways,” Woods admitted.
“I was working it both ways and I really had nice control of my traj. That was key.
“I was able to keep this ball down when I needed to and send it at times.”
He played the front nine in 3-under then sent golf fans both on the ground and around the globe into mini rapture with four birdies in five holes between 11 and 15.
Totally in the groove, his 6-iron into 12 was extremely close to an ace.
“Yesterday was a lot to build on,” Woods said.
“Through eight holes I had it. I lost it. But I made some silly mistakes there and bogeyed two par 5s. Today I did not do that. I turned those holes around.
“Consequently, the momentum, the feel of the entire round changes.”
The former World No. 1 and 79-time TOUR winner improved with his accuracy from the opening round -- finding 8 of 13 fairways and 14 of 18 greens -- and importantly all of his misses weren’t left like on Thursday.
Forced to play alone in the day’s first tee time after the withdrawal of Justin Rose with a back injury, Woods set his intentions from the opening hole with a big drive, a clinical wedge shot and a 6-foot putt for birdie.
A 16-foot birdie on the 6th kicked him into gear but it was his response after his worst swing of the round that proved critical.
Tiger Woods gives patented fist pump after huge par save at Hero World Challenge
While he was extremely happy with seven birdies, it was the zero bogeys he took the most pride in, particularly after two impressive saves on the 8th and 16th holes from waste areas.
Pulling an iron off the par-3 8th tee into the waste area and a terrible lie Woods provided some old school magic to chip the ball to inside six feet, making the par save to continue his momentum.
Having double bogeyed Nos. 16 and 18 in Round 1, he entered the final three holes looking for revenge but a wayward tee shot ended up in a bush forcing a tough second shot which remained in the waste area.
His third left a curling 25-footer to save par -- which he buried -- inducing the big fist pump and putter tap and perhaps the biggest roar of the week.
“After hitting that terrible shot on eight into another bush and getting the up‑and‑down, I told Joey (caddie) I'm not dropping a shot,” Woods said.
“I lost it yesterday at 9, made bogey there. I bogeyed 11. Today I played those two holes under par. And 16 was big.
“I wanted to keep that card clean. Somehow, I don't know what it is about playing and competing, but keeping cards clean, there's something really special and it feels pretty good doing that.”
Woods is now 6-under for the tournament, still six shots off the pace. But he’s dreaming big.
“I'm going to have to go low,” he said of his weekend prospects
“Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be like it is right now and it's supposed to pump on Sunday. So I've got to get after it tomorrow, get into double digits to at least give myself somewhat of a chance going into Sunday.”