Tiger Woods passed his first test at the 86th Masters tournament with flying colors.
In his first competitive round since the 2020 November Masters, and less than 14 months after a near-fatal car accident, Woods put together an impressive round of 1-under-par 71 on Thursday to begin Friday’s second round just four shots off the lead.
Woods had been scheduled to compete in a group with South African Louis Oosthuizen and Chilean Joaquin Niemann at 1:41 p.m. ET, but Oosthuizen withdrew from the tournament because of an injury.
Sungjae Im of South Korea set the pace on Thursday by firing a 5-under-par 67. American Scottie Scheffler took over the lead on Friday at 4-under-par.
However, all eyes were on Woods and his return to action on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National. Now, the question is whether the five-time Masters champion can continue his momentum into Round 2, and make the cut.
One step forward, two steps back.
Tiger Woods landed his tee shot among the bushes and plants behind the green and watched it roll into the bunker behind the green. Yikes. Double yikes. He didn’t commit to his shot and failed to get his ball onto the green from the bunker. He got a little too careful, but once again, avoided blasting it out of the bunker and didn’t let it run to the water. From 12 feet off the green Tiger just missed the left edge, setting up for back-to-back bogeys.
He’s 4-over-par through 12.
— Adam Woodard, Golfweek
American Stewart Cink hit a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th, marking the first hole-in-one at the 2022 Masters. He’s 6-over-par through 16.
Tiger Woods hit a 284 yard drive out to the right in pine straw to start No. 11, the first hole of the notorious Amen Corner at Augusta National. He ended up with his fifth bogey of the day, bringing him to 2-over-par for the day.
The No. 11 hole at Augusta National has traditionally been one of the longer and tougher holes there is at the Masters. At 520 yards, the 11th is 15 yards longer than it used to be. The par-4 is also 10 yards longer than the par-5 13th.
— Cydney Henderson, Nancy Armour
Tiger Woods continues to turn things around on his second round at the Masters with a birdie on No. 10, his second birdie in four holes after starting Friday with four bogeys. He’s one-over-par.
Tiger Woods had a little pep in his step after another 330-plus yard drive on No. 9. From 143 yards out, he struggled to find the green, once again missing right. Tiger hit a nifty bump-and-run and released the ball about six feet past the hole and quickly cleaned up to save par. He’s 2-over par.
— Adam Woodard, Golfweek
Jordan Spieth hit two balls in water on par-3 12th on Friday at the Masters, reminiscent of 2016, when Spieth dumped two balls in the water on the par-3 12th to open the door for Danny Willett to eventually win the Masters that year.
On Friday, while battling to make the cut, Spieth did the same thing.
Luckily, he’d get up-and-down on his third attempt to “save” triple bogey. He was 1-under on the day before stepping up the 12th tee box and left 4 over for the tournament.
— Riley Hamel, Golfweek
Woods gets much-needed birdie at No. 8
Off the tee, Woods flirted with the left fairway but found the first-cut rough. He then took a huge cut with 3-wood and was leaning for it to come back left a bit but his ball finished right of the green, 20 yards from the pin.
Tiger showed great touch, as his chip checked up just a few feet from the hole and he tapped in for his first birdie of the day to drop him to 2-over par.
— Adam Woodard, Golfweek
English golfer Danny Willett broke out of the logjam atop the leaderboard and birdied No. 9 to get to 4-under par and in sole possession of first place.
He now makes the turn one stroke ahead of Charl Schwartzel and Sungjae Im.
Tiger Woods has settled some after a shaky start and converted his second-consecutive par at No. 7, which is critical as he tries to stay below the cut line. Woods looked solid off the tee shot, straight down the middle of the fairway. His approach landed around 15 feet away from the pin, but Woods’ birdie try had too much pace and skipped past the pin.
Still, Woods did manage to save par to stay at 3-over par.
Tiger Woods found the green on the par-3 No. 6, but it wasn’t nearly as close as his tap-in birdie was when he played the hole on Thursday; Woods left himself another 30-plus foot for what would’ve been his first birdie of the day.
His birdie putt missed by a few inches and he cleaned up for a par save.
— Adam Woodard, Golfweek
One concern for Tiger Woods through the first three holes of his second round is that the one thing that was his saving grace Thursday — his putter — is faltering. Woods bogeyed No. 3, marking his second dropped stroke through the first three holes of his second round. That he had just a seven-foot putt to save par but ultimately missed could be an omen of more struggles to come.
That was only magnified when Woods failed to capitalize on the first par-3 of the day. Woods’ tee shot at No. 4 landed short and on his second shot, he just missed a slope that would’ve carried the ball closer to the pin. Instead, it rolled back and left him with a challenging 30-foot par putt that he also left short.
It only got worse for Woods, whose tee shot at No. 5 sailed right into the patrons. After Woods got back on the fairway, he left himself a tough but manageable 11-foot putt for par. But he spun this one too far. That now has Woods at 4-over par and four bogeys through five holes.
Tiger Woods pulled out driver on No. 2 and sent it to the middle of the right fairway bunker for the second consecutive hole. On his second shot, he did well to push it up the fairway, leaving it 109 yards from the pin. Downwind to the back pin, Tiger’s approach landed right in the middle of the green, but he missed his birdie try from 26 feet for a tap-in par.
— Adam Woodard, Golfweek
Tiger Woods’ tee shot off the first hole found the right bunker along the fairway, continuing the trend from Thursday’s play: He’s not making dire mistakes, but his mishits are making things more difficult. His approach ended up beyond the green, and after a decent chip left him in position to save par, he two-putted for an opening-hole bogey, dropping him to even-par and a tie for 17th.
Woods has now hit only nine of 19 greens in regulation.
After a stellar first round and start to his second, Korean golfer Sungjae Im has hit his first rough patch of the tournament. He opened the day with the lead and had at least a share of it through the front nine. Im climbed all the way to 5-under par after a birdie at No. 3.
But then, Im posted bogeys in two of his first three after the turn, at Nos. 10 and 12 to drop him to 3-under par and a tie for second. Im was the runner up at the 2020 Masters.
After a nice surge to start his second round, Dustin Johnson has fallen victim to sloppy play just before making the turn.
Johnson had reached 4-under par through six holes, but then bogeyed two of his next three, at Nos. 7 and 9. Johnson’s tee shot on No. 9 was well left and his approach landed in the bunker before he pitched out, aiming well left of the hole. Now at 2-under par, Johnson, the 2020 Masters champion, is in a tie for seventh place.
South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen has withdrawn from the Masters due to an injury, chairman of the competition committees James B. Hyler Jr. said Friday in a statement.
Oosthuizen, 39, struggled through his opening round Thursday, shooting 4-over par. Oosthuizen was competing in his 14th Masters. His highest finish at the tournament was in 2012, when he lost to eventual champion Bubba Watson in a playoff.
Few have gotten off to good starts on the second day of the Masters, but Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson are moving closer to the leaders.
Both former champions are at 2-under for the round, while Dustin Johnson, the 2020 Masters winner, is at 4-under for the tournament after his birdie on the par 3 4th hole. Jon Rahm, ranked No. 2 in the world is also off to a fast start, as he birdied his first two holes and sits at even par.
Sungjae Kim, who entered the clubhouse as the first round leader at the Masters after shooting a 5-under 67, began his second round within the last hour.
On the first hole, Kim bogeyed and is now tied for the lead at 4-under par with Cameron Smith, who starts his round at 1:30 p.m. ET.
All eyes will be on the leaderboard as the top 50 and ties make the cut at the Masters. According to the PGA Tour’s DataGolf analysis, the cutline was projected at 2-over. After the first round, there were 59 players at +2 or better (T43).
Last year, Dustin Johnson failed to make the cut (74-75) after winning the Masters with a record 20-under-par in November 2020.
Don’t be fooled by the clear, sunny skies. The weather is going to make quite an impact on the second round of the Masters.
Wind gusts of between 20 and 30 mph are expected this afternoon at Augusta National. That will affect the flight of the ball, of course, but also make it tough to judge distance. A 180-yard shot plays a lot different when the wind is howling.
The fairways and greens are also going to dry out, making them firmer and faster. Experience is always at a premium at the Masters, but these kind of weather conditions will only make it more imperative.
“Sometimes, especially around here, it’s really hard to get a beat on if you get a lot of crosswinds. Is it helping a little bit, or is it hurting a little bit?” Dustin Johnson, the 2020 Masters champion, said after finishing his round Thursday. “Which makes a big difference around here because you really need to be spot on with your distances and iron shots.”
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Something was in the air, a murmur at first, a rush of sound far away from the first tee, growing louder by the second. Hundreds of heads turned. The galleries were as large as they could ever be at Augusta National, packed 20-25 deep, waiting for one person: Tiger Woods.
Less than 14 months earlier, he crashed his SUV and thought he might lose his right leg or never walk again. Now, here he was, striding confidently, albeit with a persistent limp, in front of a massive Thursday morning audience to begin his first official round of golf since he last teed off here in the November 2020 Masters.
The 46-year-old Woods, who a year ago was in the midst of spending three consecutive months in a hospital bed, was on his way to a magnificent opening round at the Masters, breaking par, finishing at one-under 71.
There was only one conclusion to draw from this remarkable sports moment: Tiger is just so good at this and cares so much about it that he can do it, and do it very well, on a rebuilt right leg.
— Christine Brennan
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods began his 2022 Masters campaign with a 1-under 71 on Thursday, aided by countless par saves, including his final putt from 10 feet on the 18th green.
In his first competitive round of golf since the horrific single-car accident that nearly cost him his right leg, Woods looked comfortable as he methodically worked his way around Augusta National, only grimacing once after yanking his tee shot into the trees on No. 9.
Woods made birdies on Nos. 6, 13 and 16, where he let out the first fist pump of the day on the par 3 after canning a 30-footer. His two bogeys came at the par-5 8th and par-4 14th. The 15-time major champion hit just half of his fairways and greens and still managed to score under par.
— Adam Woodard, Golfweek
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Gratifying as it was for Tiger Woods to hear that familiar roar as he walked up to the 18th green, it had to have scared the bejeezus out of Sungjae Im, Cameron Smith and everyone else on the leaderboard.
Give the 15-time major champion an opportunity, especially at Augusta National, and odds are pretty good he’ll make you regret it.
Woods is lurking after his first round of the Masters. Credit him, certainly. He made impressive par saves on Nos. 1, 9 and 18, as well as a nice up-and-down on 11, to finish the day at 1-under.
But those ahead of him opened the door for Woods, too. Im had a chance to get to 6 under, but his shot out of a greenside bunker on 18 hit the back of the cup and caromed off. Smith double-bogeyed 18, going from 6 under for the day to 4.
— Nancy Armour
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism