US Open 2013 Results: Grading Tiger Woods' Day 2 Performance at Merion
Right off the top, let’s understand that on Friday, Merion was playing more like Merion was expected to play coming into the 113th U.S. Open. It was tougher, less forgiving than it was in Thursday’s first round.
For most of the day, there were only two or three players under par. But guess what? On that harder golf course, Tiger Woods played better and finished at three-over 73.
Here’s a report card for Woods’ Day 2 Friday.
He’s still not drilling putts into the cup as we’ve come to expect. But Friday, he made some.
He seemed to adjust to the ever-quickening speed of the greens and actually made a couple lengthy birdie putts.
As was the case with the rest of his game, his rhythm seemed much better on the greens. After an opening-round 32 putts, he needed 30 on Friday.
He got the ball into the fairway 10 times off the tee—much better than the first round. It certainly wasn’t a magic potion for him, but it did allow him to get back in the game.
He still missed a couple fairways with irons and he won’t be able to do that and contend over the weekend.
He hit the fairways on Merion’s two par-fives, leading to a pair of bogeys. That’s been a Woods trademark over the years.
Again, he knew exactly how he needed to make his way around Merion and adhered to his plan as well as he could.
When he missed fairways, he didn’t do so by much. He was, however, a bit unlucky with how some of his approach shots ended up in bad places around the green.
And he had some bad lies around the putting surfaces, but that’s how it goes. He shot even par—better than Thursday, but not nearly as good as he’ll need to be over the weekend.
He made two bogeys and a birdie on his finishing holes of the first round.
That kind of start to the morning can be a real crusher to a golfer’s day.
For whatever reason—be it his previous major championship experience, strong mental makeup, or maybe both—he was able to get into a good mindset and not let the tournament get away from him.
He missed a fairway or two after choosing irons off the tee, and he missed a few more greens on approach shots.
The irons were still average at best, and when they are like that, they put a lot of pressure on the putter. Tiger's irons definitely need to be tightened up.
A better effort overall for Tiger Woods in Round 2.
Was it great? No, it was enough to keep him in the hunt and, who knows, by the time the field finishes the second round, he could be a lot closer to the lead than he was he left the course.
If the progression in his game continues tomorrow, things could get very interesting over the last two rounds.