Cut day at the Farmers brought just as many questions as it did answers re Tigers game.. He openly admitted to feeling that “rush from competing” and the “competitive nerves” in the first round... honesty not always offered in his post round interviews in the past.
The optimism that was the takeaway from yesterday was quickly replaced with doubt & apprehension not only inside the spectators minds but maybe Eldrick’s also. Two of his first three driver swings were pull hooks that were meant to be power fades... The draws he was trying to hit on his 8th and 9th holes were instead push blocks that never sniffed the fairway. Not anywhere near close to the control he showed earlier this week...
Once again he was behind the game after a double on fourth. Birdie free through the opening nine and 4 shots outside of the cut as he marched the 10th fwy left just a glimmer of hope that this thing might turn around. Now his winning record and playing statistics speak volumes about his career and the numbers are close to the most impressive reading in the games history..In some areas unparalleled.
But I’ve dug around a bit and are yet to find a number to measure pure grit, grind and determination. I’ll offer that in my opinion it’s a part of this great game and life in general that is an intangible and too bloody tough to measure. Some describe IT as ticker, others term IT as guts and many refer to the IT as just balls!! Maybe it’s all of these and more. Now making 4 birdies over the closing nine to be around for the weekend field is not supersonic. It’s nice playing but out here on Tour players do that every week. But for the guy that never had a weekend off for 142 weeks in a row from 1998 through 2005, making his first cut since the Wyndham in mid August 2015 was actually a massive milestone.
His self professed goal for the week was simply to continue to make steps forward towards being ready for Augusta in April and making a run at a 5th green jacket. Couple that with the popular assumption that in all likelihood he will only play 3 more warm up events (Genesis, Honda, and Bay Hill) pegging it for two more competitive rounds on the challenging South course is a great opportunity to speed up the competitive rehab process. There is no replacement for the environment of tournament golf so with all of this on the line or at least on his mind...doing just enough to book a 10.10am tee time off the 10th for Rd 3 deserves just a little respect.
Well played Tiger.