Thanks to Jason Dufner and a host of other players that lit up Oak Hill Country Club at the 2013 PGA Championship during the second round on Friday, Tiger Woods is a staggering 10 strokes off the pace after finishing at even par.
For the tournament, Woods is sitting at one-over par.
Dufner shot a seven-under 63 to jump out to a two-stroke lead over Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk. In addition to setting a course record at Oak Hill, Dufner set a lofty target for Tiger to shoot for over the weekend.
Let's break down Tiger's day.
Here's a look at the real-time leaderboard:
Concerns and Doubts Creep in Before Tiger Tees Off
Because of Tiger's mediocre plus-one 71 on Thursday and the stellar play from the field early Friday, the pressure was on Woods even before he took the course on Friday.
Before the tournament began, many were longing for a Tiger-Phil duel on the final day.
With Masters champion Adam Scott and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose tearing it up early on at Oak Hill, Jason Sobel of Golf Channel warned us that talk of Tiger and Phil in an exclusive Player of the Year battle is premature:
Might want to hold off on that "Tiger vs. Phil" talk for Player of the Year. Top of the leaderboard right now: Adam Scott and Justin Rose.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) August 9, 2013
At the start of Tiger's day, he was eight shots off the lead. ESPN.com's Bob Harig shared what we were all thinking—Tiger had to go for it on Friday:
Tiger about to tee off, starts T42, 8 shots back of Scott. He's well aware conservative won't get it done. Low numbers possible. #PGAChamp— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) August 9, 2013
We can easily look at eight shots and recognize the sizable deficit Tiger faced from the beginning of his day, but ESPN's Justin Ray puts Tiger's predicament into perspective by relating it to his history:
Tiger Woods needs a big 2nd round: he's never won a major when outside the top-5 after 36 holes.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) August 9, 2013
The Day Didn't Start Well
After coming up with a par on the first hole, Tiger ran into issues on the second. He bogeyed the hole and as CBS Sports' Eye on Golf pointed out, that nasty three-letter word was being uttered:
Tiger Woods bogeys No. 2 and is +2 now, right on the cut line. Yikes.— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) August 9, 2013
Woods squandered a makable birdie putt on the third hole. He hasn't missed many like this over the last two weeks, but he couldn't convert and as Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker tweeted, he was 10 shots behind Robert Garrigus at that point:
Burns the edge for birdie at 3...tap-in par. Now 10 shots back as Garrigus gets to -8.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) August 9, 2013
With the early issues, the doubters were sure to come out in force. While the talk may have been at a whisper after the first round, the volume was being raised after three holes. Shane Bacon of Yahoo! Sports heard the chatter, too:
You hear that noise? It's the "what's wrong with Tiger Woods" group heading to an impromptu meeting.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) August 9, 2013
Finally Some Signs of Life
Just when it looked as if his day could turn into a train wreck, Tiger found his rhythm. He birdied the fifth and sixth holes, and FOX Sports' Robert Lusetich admired his soft touch:
Through the remainder of the front nine and the beginning of the back nine, Tiger's accuracy off the tee improved. He seemed to be striking the ball better, but he couldn't sink the tough birdie putts he needed to gain ground.
The Tiger Tracker noticed the improvement with the driver, specifically recognizing his beautiful tee shot on the 10th hole:
Rips another fairway wood off the 10th tee. After a few early bobbles, seems to be feeling it off the tee last hour or so.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) August 9, 2013
Running out of Time to Make a Move
Tiger nearly sunk a medium-sized birdie putt on the 10th hole, but he left it just short. Afterwards, he almost went from bad to worse when he stubbed the club head and practically botched the tap in.
Eye on Golf had the tweet and Vine video in slow motion:
Here is Tiger Woods almost missing a 3-inch putt. https://t.co/tTUrCKiZKd— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) August 9, 2013
Tiger had to settle for bogey on the 11th hole when he found the thick rough on the par-three. Bacon captured Tiger's disposition as play finished up at the end of the round:
Tiger's current fun meter is somewhere between getting food poisoning and slamming your thumb in the car door. Will update meter soon.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) August 9, 2013
He maintained pars from Nos. 12-14. Tiger really needed to make a move at this point, but he couldn't. He was able to birdie the 15th hole to move back to even for the tournament, but immediately lost that gained stroke on No. 16. He repeated that pattern on No. 17 and No. 18 to further frustrate those who thought major No. 15 was in his grasp before the tournament began.
Looking Ahead to Saturday
Tiger needs a humongous day on Saturday to have a realistic chance to contend on Sunday. It is highly unlikely, but then again, we are talking about the world's best player. Everyone should watch, but Tiger fans shouldn't have their hopes too high.
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