NORTON, Mass. — On a day when Scottie Scheffler shot 59 and Dustin Johnson flirted with going even lower before settling for 60, Tiger Woods struggled to simply post an even-par round and make the cut at the Northern Trust.
There was at least one good thing, though.
“Well, I was close to snapping a couple clubs today, but I didn’t, so that’s a positive,” Woods said
He shot 71 to make the cut right on the number at 3 under in the first event of this year’s FedEx Cup playoffs. But throughout the day, his frustration was visible — and, at times, audible.
“Yeah, that’s an understatement,” Woods said. “I just didn’t quite have it. I was hitting the ball all over the place, and on a golf course that was certainly giving it up to most of the field.”
Even if Woods had missed the cut here he would have been safe to qualify for next week’s BMW Championship. The top 70 players make that field. Woods entered this event in 49th place on the points list and, even with a missed cut, would not have fallen out of the top 70. He does, however, have serious work to do this weekend and next week at Olympia Fields just outside of Chicago if he wants to crack the top 30 and qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship.
“I’ve got to get to Atlanta first,” he said earlier this week.
The second round started out well for Woods, who opened with a birdie at the first. After that, the rest of the day became a grind. The scoring average for the field on Friday was 69.323, which was the third-lowest in the history of the event. Woods, though, bogeyed the fourth and went out in even-par 36.
“It was hard to get the ball into the correct spot, especially the way I was feeling with my shot shapes,” Woods said. “And on a day, as I said, that most of the guys are going low, I didn’t have it to go that low.”
A bogey at the 13th pushed him outside the cut, but he answered with consecutive birdies at 14 and 15. Instead of making the last few holes a stress-free walk to ensure a spot in the weekend, Woods bogeyed the 17th and had to work a little at the easy par-5 18th to stay on the right side of the cut line.
“I made it really, really hard on myself, and especially the last two holes, I had wedge in my hand and made bogey there at 17,” he said. “And 18 is a 3-wood and a 5- or 6-iron [to reach in two]. Tugged it and have to two-putt from middle of the green [for par to make the cut].”
Woods sits 12 shots behind Johnson in a tie for 58th. But with the goal of getting into the Tour Championship and, more importantly, gearing up toward next month’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot, he has some time to fix things.
“At least, I have the weekend to keep building and keep playing,” he said. “The forecast [for Saturday’s third round] … the guys are going to go mostly low. So hopefully I’m one of those guys that tears the golf course apart.”