In a fog, Tiger Woods waited out weather delay at Open

It was somehow fitting that what pundits were the current “most important round” of Tiger Woods’ most recent comeback was on hold for a fog delay at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif. Because “in a fog” might be one way to describe the world’s 51st-ranked golfer as he scuffled to Thursday’s opening-round 2-over 73 and a share of 86th place with the immortal Vaughan Taylor, Patrick Reed, and 15 others at this week’s Open.
For sure, the two birdies, two bogeys, and a double were not what Woods had in mind when he pronounced himself tanned, rested, and ready to tee it up in his first competitive tourney since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August. Instead of taking command of what some may consider a less-than-stellar field in one of the PGA Tour’s fall series events, however, Woods began his second round facing the distinct possibility of missing his second consecutive 36-hole cut for the first time in his 15-year professional career.
Woods, whose swing issues are legend, blamed putting on greens that he complained were far slower than that of his home track, Medalist Golf Club, on which he broke the course record a week ago.
“That’s probably one of the worst putting rounds I’ve ever had,” Woods told reporters Thursday, after missing three putts from within six feet, including a four-footer for birdie on the par-3 11th. “I can’t putt the ball any worse than I did today.”
Despite his claims that he had graduated with honors from coach Sean Foley’s School for Wayward Swingers (“We’re still fine-tuning it…but the major overhauls are done,” he said Wednesday), Woods’ problems were not limited to his flat stick. Protestations to the contrary (“Very pleased at the shots I was hitting most of the day,” he added on Thursday), the numbers tell the stark tale of a golfer still struggling with his longer clubs; Woods reached only nine of 18 greens in regulation and seven of 14 fairways.
No doubt, this was not what Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples had in mind when he tapped Woods for a spot on the U.S. squad and urged him to get in what Woods likes to term “reps” before the November matches in Australia. The way Tiger saw it, however, all he had to do was put a low number on the board and he was right back in it.
“I’m just playing to get competitive and win a golf tournament,” Woods said. “It’s not about validation. It’s about going out there and playing. And right now, I’m six back.”
The Golf Channel, which will air Friday’s round starting at 4 p.m. (Eastern) may long for the inclement weather to last a tad longer. That way, Woods — who remains must-see TV and whose 10:40 a.m. tee time had slipped to 12:40 p.m. — may be part of the broadcast. Capt. Fred (playing in a Champions Tour event this week), however, must certainly hope that the fog over CordeValle and his wild-card pick lifts sooner rather than later.

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