Tiger's running out of time at BMW
What will golf’s fledgling playoffs be like without Tiger Woods?
Two years ago — when Woods was recuperating from knee surgery and Vijay Singh won the Cup without doing anything more than getting a ball airborne off the first tee at East Lake — people voted with their television remotes.
Woods isn’t officially out of the race, but golf’s biggest draw is very much stuck on the outside, looking in at the winner’s $10 million prize.
Needing to make a dramatic move up the leaderboard on Friday, Woods instead turned in a mediocre 72 to tread water.
The round was a microcosm of his year; any glimpse of promise was quickly shot down by missteps.
For the first time as a professional at Cog Hill — a course he’s won on five times — he recorded back-to-back over-par rounds.
Though in a sense maybe these comparisons don’t really apply because the Tiger Woods who’s struggling to rebuild both his golf swing and his life isn’t the same giant who dominated his sport for more than a decade.
Woods is in the bottom half of the field at the BMW Championship and needs to finish in the top four to advance to East Lake.
“Well, I did it last year on the weekend,” he said, “Hopefully, I can do it again.”
Last year Woods shot 62-68 over the weekend to win.
It’s hard seeing him shooting a 62 on Saturday if he has to play all 18 holes.
Certainly not on bumpy greens which have been roundly condemned.
“I made nothing today. That pretty much sums it up. I hit the ball a hell of a lot better than my score indicates.
“I had a lot of putts inside 15 feet and I think I made one.”
Interesting that while Woods and others — including Phil Mickelson, who hit some stupendous shots on Friday but four penalty strokes left him at one over par — complained, other players were going low.
“There’s a few patchy spots, but it’s not as though you’re putting on a road or anything,” said Australian Marc Leishman, who shot 65 to vault into third place.
“When I hear other players making comments like that ... it sort of feels like you’ve got less players to beat because the guys that are complaining, they’ve already let it beat them.
“Like I said, every week we putt on perfect greens and when they’re not quite perfect, it’s not the end of the world.”
Woods is nine shots off the lead but, more than that, is trying to find his new golf swing while trying to make up those nine strokes.
He said on Friday that his worst swings come when he mixes parts of his old swing with (incompatible) parts of his new one.
“When I concentrate on just hitting a golf shot and get a feel for a golf shot, then my tendency is to go back (to his old swing),” he said.
“I’ve been through this process before, so I understand, and I’ve just got to be patient.”
While he’s struggled with his swing, it’s noticeable just how poor he’s been around the greens.
Five times in two rounds at Dubsdread Woods hit clanky chips or pitches which cost him par saves.
“Absolutely,” he said when asked whether his short game’s suffered.
“When I went through the changes with Butch (Harmon) and Hank (Haney) and now with Sean (Foley), I went through stretches where I didn’t chip the ball well or putt well because there’s only so much time you have to spend, and I’ve been working hard on my full swing.
“It’s coming around, but certainly my short game is not where it needs to be.”
The other issue is that his changed swing technique has had an effect on how he plays short shots.
“I hit some bad shots around the greens because of it (changing techniques),” he admitted.
“It’ll come around.
“Just need more time, more practice.”
If he doesn’t do something dramatic over the weekend, he’ll have a lot more time to practice.