Tiger Woods was in the rough, in the sand and in the mud. He hit into places that amateurs usually go. That he missed the entire course a few times is not a surprise. The man has hit out of grass two feet tall and five feet wide. He’s hit balls over clubhouses in tournaments—and not on purpose.
We are all used to seeing him land the ball in crazy spots. What we aren't used to seeing is him not hitting the miracle shot to get out. The miracle shot is the one he doesn't yet have in his most recent comeback. Maybe the miracle shot is that he’s playing golf at all four months after back surgery.
He will miss the cut, one of the few times that has happened to him in major championships.
Jim Furyk is undergoing a resurgence in his game. With a second place at The Players and fourth at the British Open, we shouldn't be surprised to see him within a shot of the lead after two rounds. Yet his play at the Canadian, like that of Rory McIlroy at Honda earlier in the year where McIlroy lost after having a big lead, makes us wonder.
Can Furyk cross that finish line again, especially at 44? If anybody can gut it out, it's Furyk. He credited his improved play to taking time off after the U.S. Open and being fresher.
“Mentally feel pretty good out there,” he said about the break. “I came out pretty mechanically sound. I hit the ball very, very well at both the British Open and the Canadian Open and really didn't miss a beat.”
He played little golf during the four-week period and said he was surprised that he was able to play well so quickly.
Furyk said both his father and his wife have been after him to take more weeks off during the year. But it was Dr. Bob Rotella who actually got him to rethink his schedule.
“It’s sometimes hardest to listen to the people that love you and that love you the most,” he said.
He originally sought guidance from Rotella about managing his life and his time, not necessarily his golf game.
“As I got more comfortable with him, and I wasn't putting very well last summer, we talked about putting,” he added. “Definitely, his thoughts and ideas have left me at ease on the golf course a little bit more and, in life, have helped me.”
Once again Rory McIlroy is atop a leaderboard in a major championship. He has become a great front-runner, but he confessed it was not innate. It was a result of his best and worst learning experience at the 2011 Masters.
“I’ve went into protection mode once in my career, and it was the 2011 Masters,” he said about leading tournaments and majors. “I said to myself, I’ll never do that again.”
Instead, he has learned to focus on playing solidly and adding red numbers to the scorecard.
“If I’m two ahead going into the weekend, here, I’m going to try to get three ahead. And if I’m three ahead, I’m going to try to get four ahead, and if I’m four ahead, I’m going to try to get five ahead,” he explained about his attitude. “I’m just going to try to keep the pedal down and get as many ahead as possible. That is my mindset whenever I’m leading the golf tournament.”
As darkness began to fall on Valhalla Golf Club, McIlroy was in the lead at nine-under, while Furyk headed to toward the clubhouse, both with a realistic chance for success on the weekend. Woods was resigned to spending the weekend and more at home.
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.