Tiger Woods is set to make his final Open tune-up at the Quicken Loans National this weekend at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. The event, co-hosted by Woods and his foundation, has been one of success for the 42-year-old, finding the winner's circle twice (albeit at a different venue). In a field lacking firepower, Tiger enters as one of the favorites.
His play, however, doesn't convey as much. Since that stirring Florida run in the Masters lead-up, Woods has looked particularly flat, posting just one top-10 finish in his last five starts, including a quick out at the U.S. Open. His short game has been particularly troubling, falling to 89th in strokes gained: putting. As mandated, we need to state Tiger's latest comeback is still in its fledgling stage and things remain on a relatively positive plane. Conversely, he's in need of a pick-me-up before heading across the pond.
Woods tees off at 1:20 p.m. ET with Bill Haas and Marc Leishman. We'll be keeping you updated on Big Cat's first round throughout Thursday afternoon with our live blog.
5:57 p.m.: Easy up-and-down for Woods, and he posts an even-par 70 in typical Tiger, grinding fashion. While he's seven back, he has to be pleased with the way he finished the round, one that could have easily gotten away from him. Check back here tomorrow for all the live updates from Tiger's second round. He, Leishman and Haas are set to tee off on No. 10 at 8:20 a.m. ET.
5:49 p.m.: Woods' second hits the green but he couldn't get it to stop out of the rough, and it just rolls about five yards off the back. Going to need a good chip to get this down in two.
5:41 p.m.: Tiger's drive sails waaaaaay right at 18 and finds the rough right of the cart path. Don't think he's going to sneak in one more birdie here.
5:38 p.m.: At the par-3 17th, Tiger's tee shot finds the green, coming to rest 15 feet from the cup. His birdie effort just misses on the low side. On to the 18th, where he'll look to grab one more bird to somehow get into red figures despite another ugly day on the greens and a double bogey on the card.
5:28 p.m.: After ripping an iron 280 yards down the fairway, Woods sticks one to eight feet, leaving him another makable putt for birdie. Drumroll please .... He made it! Not only did he make it, but he walked it in. Looks like his putting is officially BACK:
Kidding aside, nice roll from Woods, giving him two birdies in his last three holes to get back to level par.
5:14 p.m.: Woods' putt did not even have a chance, missing well right of the hole. Yikes. He remains at one over with three to play.
5:10 p.m.: From 132 yards out, Woods asks his wedge to get down and it listens, landing past the pin and spinning back to about seven feet. Can he finally make a putt for two birdies in a row? That would give him a legitimate chance to post a number in red figures with three holes to go.
5:02 p.m.: Must be invigorated by the birdie, as he rips his longest drive of the day at the 15th.
5:00 p.m.: On the drivable 14th Woods' tee shot comes just short, but leaves an easy pitch uphill. Woods puts his second within feet and, gasp, we may have our first birdie sighting of the afternoon.
4:43 p.m.: Yeah, about that...Woods' birdie try never comes close, falling to the left of the cup. A par, albeit disappointing one, for Woods.
4:35 p.m.: Plays it safe off the tee at the 13th, finds the fairway. Just a wedge in to make some magic happen.
And does, putting his second shot to within a few feet. Best chance at birdie on the afternoon for Tiger.
4:25 p.m.: Woods hits the green at the par-3 12th, but the birdie putt rolls short and to the right. And if all this sounds mundane, it is: little excitement on the course this afternoon at Potomac.
4:10 p.m.: This is heading south in a hurry. With another iron in hand, Woods goes wayyyyy right on the 460-yard 11th. He's forced to punch out from the Woods, and now needs to scramble for par.
But scramble he does, putting his third within five feet of the pin. His best shot of the day.
3:55 p.m.: From 245 yards, Tiger lashes an iron and hits it relatively well, but it doesn't hook as much as he'd hoped, missing the green and burying into heavy greenside rough. Another mistake at a par 5 for Woods.
He is able to save par, but Woods needs something special to keep him in the running on these next eight holes.
3:52 p.m.: Wheels are off. Laying up on the remaining par 5, Tiger hooks an iron into the hazard. He actually finds the ball in the marsh, but a disastrous start to his back side.
3:40 p.m.: Tiger's tee shot on the ninth hole finds the middle of the green. Twenty feet or so for Woods' first red number of the afternoon.
It rolls just off the right side. That's eight pars and a double for Woods. Currently T-93 out of 120 players as he heads to the back.
3:30 p.m.: Birdie attempt rolls by. The new mallet hasn't hurt Woods through eight holes. Hasn't helped, either.
3:20 p.m.: Another fairway wood off the tee at eighth, which manages to just find the rough. Needs to start making a move.
And his approach is a good start, landing close to the pin rolling out to 15 feet or so. Good chance to get one back.
3:00 p.m.: Finds the rough with a fairway wood at the seventh. Not great, but shouldn't be too much trouble.
With the second, Woods finds the middle of the green. Technically for birdie, yet will happily take par and move to the eighth.
2:55 p.m.: Needing to drop, Woods fourth comes up short and to the left of the dance floor. Should be able to putt from there, but about to take double on one of the easier holes at Potomac.
2:51 p.m.: After his first two driver tee shots, there was reason to believe the SmokeWagon would be a viable weapon for Woods on Thursday. Then he pulled it out on the 479-yard par-4 sixth and yanked one miles to the left. Fortunately, he got a huge break as the ball hit a tree and came out in the narrow strip of grass that players walk to the fairway on. From there he tried to cut a 3-wood into the green and it appears his ball landed in the hazard. Not his finest hole.
2:34 pm: Woods nearly dunks his approach at the fifth, although it gets a little too much jazz on it and runs 10 feet back. Still, his best chance at birdie in the early going.
Alas, he can't convert, and he heads to the sixth even for the day.
2:30 pm: Iron off the tee, Tiger again finds the short stuff. Andrew Landry posted a seven under, so Woods has his work cut out. Nevertheless, not a bad start for the 14-time major winner.
2:25 pm: Tiger rolls his 30-footer a few feet by, but finds the center of the cup with his comebacker. Though he's not dropping any bombs, he does seem to have a semblance of consistency so far with the new flat stick.
2:20 pm: From 147 yards, Woods approach finds the green but is well short for the third time in four holes. Not a theme that we've seen so far this year.
2:15 pm: Tiger takes iron off the tee, and while it's not Stinger-esque, it's long and true. Good position for Woods at the fourth.
2:08 pm: He lags his 50-foot birdie to three feet. Not a gimme by any means, but he knocks in the par with authority. Even through three holes.
2:00 pm: On the 230-yard par-3 third, Woods puts his tee shot on the front of the green. Lot of work left, but it will be an uphill putt and chance to make par on one of the course's hardest holes.
1:47 pm: Woods gets overly aggressive on his third, his approach bouncing hard and off the green. Not much of a chip to get up-and-down—in fact, he almost holes it—but leaves with a disappointing par.
1:37 pm: On the par-5 2nd, Woods busts out the SmokeWagon to success, sending it far down the fairway. Par 5s have been the bane of his existence in 2018, but in position to change that tune early on Thursday. Unfortunately, he's still a ways out, forcing a lay-up.
1:32 pm: The birdie putt just falls to the right, but an easy tap in and par for Woods at the first.
1:29 pm: Woods' second shot finds the green, but not particularly close to the pin. He'll have 25-30 feet for birdie...and yes, he has put the mallet in the bag.
1:20 pm: Tiger rips his opening drive down the pipe. Not one for hyperbole, but that might have been the greatest tee shot man has ever seen.
12:50 pm: Woods does appear to have a mallet in the bag. Woods has been contemplating putting his trusty Cameron on the sideline in order to get things right on the dance floor.