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Tiger Watch

Masters 2023: Tiger Woods struggles late, but makes cut and ties record with help from a friend

April 08, 2023
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Christian Petersen

AUGUSTA, Ga. — At times on Saturday morning at the 87th Masters, Tiger Woods looked like he did at the peak of his powers. He still knelt down and studied short putts with the same intensity he would have circa 2000.

The galleries looked similar, too. A sea of white-and-green umbrellas created a canopy from the driving rain that covered thousands of fans wanting to get a glimpse of any version of the five-time Masters winner.

But this Woods, the 47-year-old Woods playing in his 25th Masters, is very different to his golden years. This Woods, who sustained significant injuries to his right leg in a 2021 single-car accident, was not on top of the famous white leaderboards. Instead, he was scraping into the weekend, just hoping to figure out a way to make the cut and claim a 36th career Masters record by tying for the most consecutive Masters cuts made at 23. Two closing bogeys gave Woods a 73 and a three-over-par total made it look like it might not happen.

“I hope I get a chance to play this weekend,” Woods said after finishing the last seven holes of his weather-interrupted second round on Saturday morning. “I'm sorry … I [did] get a chance to play on the weekend. I wish I get a chance to play two more rounds.”

Woods eventually got his wish. When the second round wrapped up, he was tied for 49th, with the top 50 players and ties progressing to the weekend at the Masters.

Woods got with a little help from his friends. Justin Thomas, one of Woods’ Jupiter neighbors, bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18 to move the cutline from two over to three over.

For a few shots anyways on Saturday morning, Woods did remind everyone of the five-time green-jacket winner. He birdied the par-5 eighth after nearly reaching it in two, and then stuck it close on the par-3 12th. Although he missed that birdie. At the last par-5 15th, Woods laid up but hit a wedge so sublime it hit the flag.

“At least it didn't go in the water this time … so that was nice,” Woods said, referencing a shot at the 2013 Masters which ricocheted off the flagstick and into the water. “I made a good [birdie] putt there and then just didn't finish very well.

“I've always loved this golf course, and I love playing this event,” Woods said on the podium after his round. “I've missed a couple with some injuries, but I've always wanted to play here. I've loved it.”

The couple Woods missed were 2016 and 2017 Masters, the latter of which he only attended the Champions Dinner and admitted he was “done” and contemplating retirement. Six years later, and having won a fifth Masters in that span, Woods making the cut meant keeping another streak alive.

Woods joined Gary Player and Fred Couples in making 23 consecutive cuts at the Masters. It’s Woods’ first made cut at a major since last year’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills, which he withdrew from injured.

When tee times came out on Saturday morning for the third round, Tiger was listed in the final threesome ... off the 10th tee as he sits 15 shots off the lead.

This Woods is entirely different, but at least this Woods is still hanging around on the weekend.