It wasn’t the 10 for 13 performance off the tee.
It wasn’t even really the score: a second round, 6 under 66 that was 10 strokes better than his sloppy start to the Zozo Championship.
While Tiger Woods is honest at this point in his unmatched career, success isn’t measured so much on the scoreboard as it is in unquantifiable thoroughness.
This week, for example, was an opportunity for Woods to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time since 2014 on a course he owns. In a decade of Hero World Challenges played at the Sherwood Country Club, Woods has never finished outside the top 2, and having tied Sam Snead’s mark of 82 Tour titles in at least a year for the Zozo Championship. , this would, on paper, tick all the boxes for potential success. .
But he’s a different tiger.
He wants to win and, yes, the second still sucks. But in the grand scheme of life imitating art, it will progress.
Like the rest of us, 2020 hasn’t been kind to Woods. He only has one top 10 this year, and that dates back to January at Torrey Pines. Woods has only played five events since the pandemic resumed in June. So while Thursday’s 4-over card wasn’t where he hoped it was, understand that the number was only part of the equation.
This progress took place on Friday. He scored three straight holes from No.4, rebounded with another at No.11 and played his last three holes as 2 under. Although he ended the day where he started, a dozen headshots, he had something to build on.
“It snowballed in high numbers [on Thursday]. I never really managed to get any kind of momentum because I played par 5 so badly. Today was different, ”said Woods. “I got off to a much better start and kept riding.”
It is thoroughness. After playing Sherwood’s five par-5s in 3 on Thursday, Woods was a more respectable 4 under on Day 2. It’s always trickier than it looks, but for Tiger, the two-day turnaround can. much to be attributed to his play off the tee.
He was more precise. He was more aggressive. He was more able to work the ball back and forth.
The latter is to be noted, in particular with the Masters which are looming in three weeks. Unless Woods drastically changes his schedule and adds the Houston Open to his dance card – something he’s at least flirting with publicly – this will be his last tune up before the finals of the year. It was an 11e– a time that propelled him to victory at last year’s Masters and allowed him to start moving the ball from side to side more consistently.
“I feel like I’m able to draw the ball a little better. And I have to get a little more specific with that, start settling a little higher than I am right now, ”said Woods. “There are a few holes that I like to put up and do high draws and I did. At Augusta, I’m going to have to do this a lot more often than I am here.
Zozo Championship: full field scores | Full coverage
It would be an unspoken fault on the part of Woods, or any other player, to outright call another Tour event a tune-up for the Masters, but in this case it is. A dozen hits on a course built for speed and birdies, there’s little chance Woods will win No.83 this week.
But with the Grand Slam gem on hold, he can prepare his game. He can practice that high draw and imagine how he would play, say, on the 10th.e hole at Augusta National.
« Non. 6 [at Sherwood] is kind of like # 10, setting up, trying to get that high tomahawk draw out there, I was able to do it yesterday and today, ”he said. “So yeah, there are a few shots that yeah I’m looking at that are similar to what I’m going to face in Augusta.” I’ve been out for a few weeks, so yeah, I’m already imagining some of those plans, and I’ve been out for quite a while, since the US Open.
Forgive Woods for not getting too excited after his 6-under rebound round. It’s the high pull of the sixth tee and a back that looked incredibly flexible on Friday that is close to his heart at this point.
“I move a lot better. Having four weeks off was a good thing, the workouts were good so it kind of turned around, ”he said.
Tiger was happy with his game and his score on Day 2, but it was his progress that made him smile.