Tiger Woods taxed by course and conditions


DORAL, Fla. — Tiger Woods had the look of a sailor at the end of a rough voyage, grateful to be back on solid ground.

The relentless wind, 20-30 mph, took a toll on everyone in the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Friday, and some had to endure more than others depending on how many holes they had to play from the suspended first round in the morning.

Woods had eight, and he bogeyed four of them, including a double on 14. Three consecutive birdies mitigated the damage somewhat. His first-round 4-over-par 76 was the highest of his career on the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral, spanning 40 rounds.

But this was his first time on the redesigned Blue Monster, which is significantly more challenging even without the ferocious wind.

Woods was asked if the course was fair, but he misunderstood the question.

“I thought you said ‘fear’,” Woods replied, which may have been appropriate in Friday’s conditions. “Is the golf course fair? For the most part.

“I think it was just some of the pin locations were a little bit on the edgy side because of the wind directions. From that standpoint, it was right on the teetering point.”

Woods saw a silver lining in the rigors of the day, as no one got through unscathed. After finishing his first roung at 4-over 76, the 73 in the second round left him 5 over, six shots off the lead. He had five bogeys and four birdies, one of them coming on a 91-foot putt on No. 4.

“I just tried to get the ball close. I can’t remember the last time I made a putt from that far,” he said. “You’ve just got to hang around. You just never know. We’ve all got a shot at it now.”

It’s been rough sailing so far this season for the No.1-ranked player. He contributed to the 113 shots that found water, but only seven players shot better in the second round. And so far his troublesome lower back is holding up.

“I’m a little bit sore right now,” he said. “Long day. Long day.”

Epic wind

Patrick Reed, one of four co-leaders at 1 under, offered perspective on the severity of the wind.

“The last time I played in wind like that was in Baton Rouge during [Hurricane] Katrina,” he said. “I went out and hit some balls on the driving range, and we actually dropped a mat underneath the caddie barn and we were hitting balls out.”

When he went out in the morning to play the final seven holes of his first round, Reed was surprised that it was already windier than on stormy Thursday afternoon.

Complicating matters, the wind was blowing the opposite direction. But Reed was prepared.

“I took notes on what kind of game plan I’m going to have if it’s into the wind and downwind. I have both covered,” he said after finishing the first round in 68 to lead by one.

Rumford redux

A day after putting three tee shots in the water on the way to an 11 on No. 10, Brett Rumford improved to a double-bogey 7 on the tough par 5. But the Australian still put his initial tee shot in the sizable lake by trying the same shortcut that stymied him three times Thursday.

Even with the tee moved 46 yards closer for Friday’s windy conditions, Rumford’s drive fell well short of the shore. He then took the safer route around the lake and drove into a fairway bunker.

For those who enjoy watching pros struggle with the course and conditions, the 10th tee was an entertaining outpost. Sergio Garcia drove into the lake twice on the way to a 9.

Rumford shot 79 to reach the halfway point at 18 over, but he was two shots better than playing partner Dawie van der Walt. The South African had nine bogeys, including a seven on the par 3 15th that saw him put two tee shots in the water — one falling short, the other sailing over the green, 80 feet beyond the pin. He sank a 45-foot putt for his only birdie on No. 9.

The championship continues today.

 

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