Tiger Woods Barely Makes the Cut at the Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods is nothing if not persistent. So even when not playing his best golf, he will stubbornly strive to produce the best mediocre version of himself.It is a description that best characterizes Woods’s performance at the Masters Tournament on Saturday, when the weather-delayed second round was completed despite a cold, driving rain.In the end, Woods barely made the midway cut of the event field but he qualified to play the final two rounds for a 23rd consecutive time. Woods’s streak of cuts made ties a Masters record shared by Gary Player and Fred Couples. He has never missed the Masters cut since turning professional in 1996.“I’ve always loved this golf course, and I love playing this event,” said Woods, whose halfway tournament score of three over par tied him for 49th place. “Obviously I’ve missed a couple Masters with some injuries, but I’ve always wanted to play here. I’ve loved it and I’ve got another chance to play on the weekend. I get two more rounds.”Brooks Koepka leads the event after two rounds at 12 under par. Jon Rahm, with a strong stretch of closing holes, pulled within two strokes of Koepka entering the third round.Woods, 47, resumed his second round on Saturday at two over par for the tournament after completing only 11 holes before inclement weather suspended play late Friday afternoon.For Woods, Saturday began inauspiciously just after 8 a.m. at the treacherous and short par-3 12th hole. He navigated the part that is usually the hardest when his tee shot landed four feet to the right of the pin. But his short birdie putt attempt went well left of the hole without even touching the rim.“A terrible putt,” Woods said after his round. “I pulled it.”On the newly lengthened par-5 13th hole, his drive split the fairway but his attempt at laying up on the second shot squirted to the right and into the gallery. Woods recovered with a deft pitch to 17 feet from the hole but then left his birdie putt short — squandering another birdie opportunity.At the par-4 14th hole, Woods’s approach shot trundled off the hillside behind the green. He then chipped uphill to five feet and sank a key par putt. On the par-5 15th hole, Woods again chose to play short of the green with his second shot, and his third shot hit the flag on the fly.Woods would have been forgiven for thinking he was reliving a nightmare. Ten years ago at the Masters, he hit a shot from a similar distance on the same hole that struck the flagstick and ricocheted into the pond that protects the front of the green. He had to replay the shot and incur a one-stroke penalty. But when Woods made an illegal drop before his next shot — a violation not detected until the next day — he was nearly disqualified from the tournament. Augusta National officials instead allowed him to remain in the field after a two-stroke penalty. He finished the event in fourth place.This time, his golf ball rolled backward about 15 feet from the hole but remained on the green. His birdie putt trickled into the center of the hole and Woods moved to one under par for the round.“At least it didn’t go in the water this time when it hit the flag,” he said of his third shot to the 15th green. “So that was nice.”Woods made a routine par on the 16th hole, keeping him at one over par for the tournament. But there was trouble lurking at the 17th hole. His drive sliced to the right and his recovery from the pine straw beyond the rough came up short of the green. Woods’s flop shot over a bunker sailed over the flag and he faced a 10-foot downhill par putt that never reached the hole and led to his first bogey of the day.On the 18th hole, Woods’s driver again failed him as he clipped some tree branches about 100 yards from the tee and once again found himself in the slippery pine straw beyond Augusta National’s grassy expanses.His only option for his second shot was a chip out of trouble but short of the green. His third shot landed on the putting surface but caught the back-to-front slope of the green and stopped 35 feet below the hole. With two putts and another bogey, his second round was complete at one over par 73.Woods’s clothing and golf cap were soaked with rain as he stalked up the rise behind the green. A considerable gallery sitting beneath umbrellas cheered his exit, but Woods, looking aggravated, did not acknowledge the ovation.

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