Riding high after an opening-round 1-under 71, Tiger Woods on Friday looked out of sorts early at the 2022 Masters. As part of a bumpy start to his second round, Woods bogeyed four of his first five holes, sunk dangerously close to the projected cut line and looked like he may not qualify for the weekend at Augusta National for the first time in his professional career.
And then? Well, Tiger Woods did Tiger Woods things.
With his back against the wall, he played the final 13 holes at 2 under and avoided the cut line with ease, going 2 over for the day to sit 1 over for the tournament and nine shots back of leader Scottie Scheffler, who had the round of the day with a 5-under 67.
Tiger’s 22 consecutive made cuts ranks him second in Masters history behind Fred Couples and Gary Player, who each qualified for the weekend 23 times in a row. Woods has never missed the cut when playing Augusta National as a professional.
Woods’ 74 on Friday was by no stretch the prettiest outing of the field, and it was far from the best showing of his career. But it was noteworthy given the swirling winds and tough conditions that saw few in the field find the red Friday. Despite being frustrated with how some of his shots fell, Woods maneuvered around the course like a five-time green jacket winner — missing in the right spots, laying up when necessary and relying upon his short game and putter to carry him home.
Fittingly, it was his short game in Round 2 that helped spur his late-round turnaround starting at the par-5 eighth hole. From just off the green after missing his approach, Woods nearly sank a chip to give himself a tap-in birdie.
Tiger carried that momentum into the par-4 ninth with another brilliant chip from just off the fringe. His shot landed 6 feet of the hole, and he subsequently sunk the putt to save par to finish his first nine at 3 over.
It was a bit of a rollercoaster on the second nine with a pair of bogeys on the first two holes at Amen Corner, but Woods rode the highs more than the lows with three birdies in his first five holes at 10, 13 and 14. From there, he parred out in a drama-free finish.
Woods’ return to competitive action Thursday marked his first swings on the PGA Tour in 509 days after more than a year-long recovery from a car crash that caused him significant trauma and injuries, so playing — much less making the cut — is in itself a minor miracle. But of course, being a career over-achiever who never settles for mediocrity, Woods is hoping to do so much more than make the cut.
Tiger will head to the weekend among the top 20 on the leaderboard, and while he’s well of the pace of Scheffler, one lesson learned this week with Woods is that, no matter the circumstances, you’d be a fool to count him out.