Grading Tiger Woods' Round 2 Performance at the 2019 Masters

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2019

Tiger Woods was smiling throughout his memorable second round at the Masters.
Tiger Woods was smiling throughout his memorable second round at the Masters.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

There is something glorious when greatness is in full bloom, and while the azaleas and the dogwood have reached their peak in Augusta National Golf Club, it doesn't compare to the spectacular display of Tiger Woods at the top of his game.

He is not there yet, but he is close to "the old Tiger Woods." He had a nearly spectacular second round at the Masters, firing a four-under 68 that included an array of birdies that were largely the result of long putts.

Tiger has taken 138 strokes so far, one more than a group of five golfers who are seven under through the first two rounds of golf's most dramatic setting.

He is in a perfect position to make a run at his fifth green jacket and the 15th major championship of his career. Woods has been solid off the tee, and his iron shots have been stellar. His approach shots are both accurate and creative, and his putting has led to thunderous ovations from appreciative crowds.

Tiger has not been perfect, and if he is going to find success over the weekend, he is going to have to make one significant improvement. 

He is going to have to make his short putts. He has missed birdie opportunities on them and a few on medium-range putts.

As Tiger approached his 10-foot putt on the 18th hole for a birdie that would have allowed him to tie Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Francesco Molinari and Jason Day for the lead on the scoreboard at seven under, he did not hit it hard enough to reach the hole.

Instead of being even with the leaders, he is tied with Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Justin Harding. Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm are one stroke behind Woods and Co.

      

Leaderboard

Francesco Molinari, -7
Jason Day, -7
Brooks Koepka, -7
Adam Scott, -7
Louis Oosthuizen, -7
Tiger Woods, -6
Xander Schauffele, -6
Dustin Johnson, -6
Justin Harding, -6

      

On the 17th hole, he had a shorter birdie opportunity that he left outside the hole. He has had a number of putts for par and birdie during the first two days of the tournament that he has missed as a result of a wrong read or incorrect speed.

It would all be understandable if he hadn't been so spectacular with his long putts.

He has made five putts of 20 feet or longer in the first two days at Augusta, and that's the best showing of any of the 87 golfers who were in the Masters field at the start of the tournament. Oosthuizen is second to Woods in that category with three putts of 20 feet or more.

CBS announcer Jim Nantz, working the ESPN broadcast Friday afternoon, told the early evening audience that Woods ranked 64th in the field on putts between five and 10 feet and 84th on putts of less than five feet.

The only thing that kept Tiger from a grade of A-plus was the frequency of missing short putts. But a second round of 35 and 33 has earned the 43-year-old a solid A for Friday.

Tiger was happy with his performance that included three birdies and two bogeys on the first nine and three more birdies on the second nine without any bogeys.

The birdies on the ninth and 14th holes were of the spectacular variety. He crushed a long 30-foot putt on the ninth that was drilled into the back of the cup and led to joyous and full-throated appreciation from the attendees.

On the 14th, Woods recovered from a faulty tee shot to hit an imaginative and well-struck second shot that recalled his glory days because of its creativity and execution. He then finished the job by dropping another long putt.

He spoke with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi after his round, and it appeared that Tiger was fighting to contain his smile and enthusiasm. He assessed his round with a somewhat detached demeanor, but he did confess that "it was fun" and that he felt good about the way he was playing.

Tiger said he is following the pattern that he had set in the 2018 British Open and PGA Championship. "I have been right there in the last three major championships, and it feels good to compete like that," Woods said.

With the forecast calling for wet weather on both Saturday and Sunday, Tiger said he is not in a position to come up with a game plan for Saturday's moving day round.

"I have to see what the weather is like," he said matter-of-factly.

While golf fans are anxious to see how the rest of the tournament will unfold, Tiger has a veteran's outlook. He knows there's no need to rush anything, and he will patiently wait for the conditions to reveal themselves before he decides how he will attack the iconic Augusta tract.

He won his first Masters in 1997, and 22 years later he may be in position to win his fifth. He has an army of fans who are appreciating every second, and they are hoping there are even more great moments over the weekend.

Download the app for commentsGet the B/R app to join the conversation

Related

    New Callaway Epic Flash Star Woods 🔥

    Golf logo
    Golf

    New Callaway Epic Flash Star Woods 🔥

    Golf
    via Golf

    17-Year-Old Making Pro Debut This Week

    Golf logo
    Golf

    17-Year-Old Making Pro Debut This Week

    Joel Beall
    via Golf Digest

    Niemann, 20, Claims 1st Career Win at the Greenbrier 🏆

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Niemann, 20, Claims 1st Career Win at the Greenbrier 🏆

    Christopher Powers
    via Golf Digest

    Chappell Shoots Historic 59 in Return to PGA Tour

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Chappell Shoots Historic 59 in Return to PGA Tour

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report