It sounds silly to say that someone could spot the field seven strokes for 36 holes in a major championship and still win. Mostly because it has never been done successfully at Augusta.
Why then, is Tiger Woods is still feared by the entire field and expected by his entire fan base to be in the final round Sunday. He sits uncomfortably at -2 straining to see Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry at -9.
In fact, Woods has only once won a major championship when trying to come from behind on Sunday, last year’s legendary U.S. Open extra round battle against Rocco Mediate.
Woods likes to accomplish things that nobody believes he can, so we can ignore the history of the situation when predicting this outcome.
His visible frustration from today’s even par round of 72 sent Woods, Stevie, and Hank straight to the practice range after his morning round.
There is still a question as to whether or not Woods is physically 100 percent since we know he has won at 75 percent capability. But not at Augusta, not from seven behind the virtually collapse proof veteran Kenny Perry.
Woods may have a chance at his fifth green jacket if, and only if, he can drop a very low Saturday round and get some help from the wrathful golf gods dealing with the leaders.
Chad Campbell is usually pretty nervous when he leads the pack. A high number in one of the weekend rounds is possible from him.
Perry will likely continue his consistent play unless weather or course conditions deteriorate substantially. A very low round at this golf course on the weekend is highly unlikely.
Other notable players within striking distance are Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim and Jim Furyk who are each at four under par, which is only five strokes back of the leaders.
Padraig Harrington had a bolt from the Augusta Zeus when a gust of wind moved his ball on the putting green after he had addressed it and soled his putter.
He actually moved away from the ball when the wind blew and then a strong gust pushed it a couple of feet.
The result, after some discussion with rules officials, was a one shot penalty which turned a birdie into a par.
This stroke of poor luck coupled with his average play this season probably ended any chance of three majors in a row for last season’s player of the year.
Phil Mickelson also had a good round that left his tournament total at -3 through two rounds, one shot ahead of Woods and six behind the leaders.
Mickelson, with his ability to play towering, spinning cut shots into tight pins on what are sure to be bikini waxed greens, gives him a chance to come back also.
When Lefty’s putter is rolling he is the No. 1 player in the world, and today it was.
Anthony Kim set a new birdie record for the event with 11. Let me try to explain this more forcefully, he shot a seven under par 65 in gusty conditions at Augusta National by making birdie on 11 of the 18 holes. Completely absurd.
Shooting 65 with two bogeys and a double-bogey during the Masters is incredible. It shows his talent and potential, but also his juvenile inconsistency which reminds me of John Daly or a younger Sergio Garcia.
Missing the cut were very few notables. Of course, many of the past champions will not play tomorrow and Greg Norman will also be watching it from one of his yachts.
Goosen, Cink, Johnson, and Weekley are the only surprising failures.
Bernhard Langer ended his fairytale tournament by following a Thursday 70 up with an 80 today.
Sandy Lyle, on the other hand, will play this weekend after today’s solid round of two under par.
It all sets up a pretty compelling “moving day” at Augusta. Saturday’s course set up at the Masters is arguable more difficult than Sunday’s which makes for many leader board changes.
For Sunday not to become a ratings bust, Woods, Mickelson, and/or Garcia need to play themselves to within three shots of the leader.