Tiger Woods shot a one-under 71 at the Players Championship, and his two-day total of one-under 143 is likely to make the weekend.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Tiger Woods didn't have his best stuff on Friday at the Players Championship, but a one-under 71 for the day and a two-day total of 143 means Woods is likely to survive the cut and make the weekend for his sixth straight tournament.
"I didn't hit the ball close enough today," Woods said. "I didn't get off to the start that I wanted to."
Woods, dressed in all black on a sweaty 90-degree Florida day, began the day with six straight pars before birdieing the par-5 16th (he started on 10) for the second straight day. The 14-time major and two-time Players champion then stepped confidently to the island green par-3 17th and stuck a wedge to 10 feet, but could not get the putt to fall.
Woods' prettiest shot of the day might have been his tee ball at the difficult 18th, a shot made even more impressive by the fact that he hit a pull-hook into the water on the same hole on Thursday. Woods, undeterred by that left miss with the same driving iron, went for his patented low stinger and hit an absolutely beauty right up the middle.
He'd go on to bogey the hole, however, after he came out of his approach and found a grass bunker short and right of the green. The most light-hearted moment of the day came on 18, when Woods' caddy Joe LaCava tripped over Phil Mickelson's golf bag and fell to the ground. Mickelson, Woods and Fowler all cracked up laughing, and Phil had to back off his putt multiple times because he just could not stop giggling.
"I never brought it up again," Woods said of LaCava's fall,"but boy, I think Phil gave him a pretty good one."
That dropped shot on 18 would turn out to be the only bogey Woods made all day, as he made eight pars and one birdie on the front nine (his second nine of the day). The birdie came at the par-3 third after a solid short-iron approach to about 20 feet below the hole. Mickelson also birdied the hole, and seeing two 40-somethings with 20 majors between them both make a birdie delighted the sizable gallery surrounding the hole.
Woods didn't give himself any makeable birdie putts coming in—something he lamented after the round—though he did lip-out from 43 feet on the ultra-tough par-3 8th.
Woods finished with five straight pars to get in at one-under 143 for the week, a total that's likely to make the cut on the number.
"I got to shoot something in the probably mid 60s both days to get myself up there and have a chance," Woods said. "Hopefully give myself some more looks. I feel like I'm putting well, I'm just never inside that range which I should be with the irons I'm having."
While it wasn't an ideal start to the Players for Woods, he did fare much better than his playing partners, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, in what was billed as a super-grouping. Mickelson followed up a 79 with 73, while Fowler made back-to-bag double-bogeys on the back nine to finish at one-over for the two days. Both players are more than likely going to miss the cut.
Charl Schwartzel and Patrick Cantlay shared the lead when Woods finished at 10-under 134.