NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. - Tiger Woods sounded the lament of anyone who has ever played the game of golf and experienced the frustration of trying to get all aspects of the game working on the same day. "It's always something," Woods said Friday after an even-par 70 left him at three over par after 36 holes of the AT&T National.
"I drive it on a string and my irons aren't good," he said. "I hit good irons and I can't make a putt. It's always something, isn't it?" The fact Woods repeated the refrain and asked his listeners for affirmation indicated the level of his frustration. For the second day in a row at Aronimink GC, he had a chance to shoot in the 60s and let it slip away.
The inability to maintain momentum is a puzzling - and chronic - aspect of his 2010 campaign. He birdied his second hole on Friday - No. 11 - but immediately erased that with a three-putt bogey on the next hole, missing a five-footer for par. Still, Woods turned in 34 and appeared to be getting back into a tournament at which no one was going low.
A bogey on No. 1 after a poor drive led to an 80-foot birdie putt he lagged to 8 feet and then missed got Woods back to even par on the day. Then he seemed to find something, making birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 to get to two under on the round and one over for the tournament. At the time, four under was leading.
Then, once again, his problems closing out rounds resurfaced. He missed the par-3 fifth hole long, went under a chip from the rough and left it short of the green and eventually made an eight-footer just to save bogey.
Woods then scrambled to make up-and-down par saves on Nos. 6 and 7 and appeared as if he had saved his third par in a row when he chipped from 75 feet to 2Â¿ feet on No. 8 - and then missed the putt. He finished with a par on the par-5 ninth hole when he followed a massive drive with a second shot that left him short-sided in the rough and he settled for a par.
"I'm not making any putts," he said in what is becoming a common post-round refrain. "What are you going to do? For some reason today I couldn't release the blade." He called his iron play "better, but still not sharp" and once again said his driving "was on a strong," even though the string got snarled at times.
"I'm going out dew-sweeping tomorrow," Woods said about his third round, which will have one of the earlier tee times. "I'll set the pins." At least the sense of humor is intact.
And then the competitor in him licked in. "I just have to put together two goods rounds and see where it leaves me," Woods said. Putting together two goods rounds would be a great improvement for a guy who right now is having trouble putting together one good round -- or at least one great round.
-- John Strege