Tiger Woods live blog: Woods beats Patrick Cantlay, advances to Round of 16 with some help from Aaron Wise
After getting off to an ideal start with a win on Wednesday at the WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods lost his second match to Brandt Snedeker on Thursday, though he certainly put up a good fight. But it wasn't enough, and now Woods is in need of a victory over Patrick Cantlay on Friday and in need of some serious help from Aaron Wise.
Because Snedeker and Cantlay halved their match on Wednesday, then each won their matches on Thursday, they are each at 1-0-1, and that half point is crucial. Even if Woods can beat Cantlay, he would still get knocked out if Snedeker beats Wise on Friday because Sneds' record of 2-0-1 would be better than Woods' record of 2-1-0 thanks to the half point Sneds earned on Wednesday. If Wise can beat Snedeker and Woods beats Cantlay, Tiger is in.
Of course, Cantlay would like to advance as well, and a win for him would put him at 2-0-1, at least guaranteeing himself a spot in a playoff with Snedeker were he to beat Wise. If Cantlay wins and Snedeker loses or halves his match with Wise, Cantlay is in. For things to get really nuts, a Tiger win and a Snedeker halve would set up a playoff with Tiger and Sneds.
Got all that?
You've got to really love the simplicity of the Match Play, am I right? Cripes.
Anyway, Woods goes off at 11:15 a.m. ET at Austin Country Club against Cantlay. Keep it right here for all the important updates from their match, as well as Snedeker and Wise's match, which will go off at 11:26 a.m.
(All times ET)
2:54 p.m.: After Patrick Cantlay failed to hole out for birdie, he concedes the match, and Tiger wins 4 and 2. Thanks to some help from Aaron Wise, he also wins the group with a 2-1-0 record, advancing to the Round of 16 in his first ever start in this format. Woods won eight holes on Friday, including five of the last six. The big momentum shift all started with a gift from Cantlay at the ninth, according to Woods.
"Patrick got a bad break there at nine," said Tiger after the victory. "He hit it over the bunker and it rolled in the hazard, and I got a free hole there. Just basically tried to carry the momentum into the back nine. Made a big putt at 11 and got rolling from there."
As for the eagle heard 'round the world, Woods couldn't help but smile when Golf Channel's Todd Lewis asked him about it.
"I thought that 3 was going to be the number to halve the hole with him [Cantlay] there, he pretty much had a guaranteed up-and-down. So I was just trying to get up there close and at least try and make him earn it with a 3 of my own, and next thing you know it falls in, so, I'll take it."
With Rory McIlroy currently 3 up on Matthew Fitzpatrick with 3 to play, he has guaranteed himself a half point, which is enough to win his group and advance. That sets up an epic first-round showdown with Woods, something the two have never had before in a match-play format, unless you count the exhibition match the two played in 2013 in China. McIlroy won, but that has little to no effect on tomorrow's proceedings. It'd be nice to see them play in semis or even the final, but beggars can't be choosers. Golf fans are in for a treat tomorrow morning no matter what, so don't plan on sleeping in.
2:46 p.m.: After the, um, fortunate break for Woods, he rips his second up near the green. Roger Maltbie then reported it was indeed a great break, the same Roger Maltbie that was fist-pumping the hell out of Tiger's eagle before:
Conspiracy? Did Rog toss that ball back out? We kid, we kid.
Tiger just clipped his third a few feet past the hole, while Cantlay's third came up short of the green. This one is all but over, folks.
2:40 p.m.: Tiger misses his drive well right, but, somewhat suspiciously, his ball came HUMMING back out into the fairway. It was such an odd break that the Golf Channel guys "half-joked" that someone threw the ball back out in the fairway. It's either that or the golf gods really are completely in Tiger's corner on Friday. And Cantlay put his drive in a fairway bunker. Everything is coming up Tiger.
2:32 p.m.: Tiger and Cantlay play the the 15th in almost identical fashion, each hitting drives down the left side and then hitting their approaches just over the green. Cantlay's chip came up just short, as did Tiger's putt, which would have ended the match. Woods is 3 up with 3 to play, and a win will officially get him into the Round of 16, as Aaron Wise just closed out Brandt Snedeker, 6 and 4.
2:23 p.m.: After Cantlay's tough chip left him a long putt for par, Tiger made it irrelevant by burying his 18-footer for birdie to go 3 up. This is an all-time heater for the 14-time major champ. 3 up with 4 to play.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy is 3 up on Matthew Fitzpatrick with six to play. Is it too early to start talking about the Rory-Tiger match on Saturday morning? Okay, we won't jinx it..
2:17 p.m.: Cantlay seems to crumbling under the pressure. Woods just put another one close at No. 14, and Cantlay followed by missing the green left in a bunker. It looks like Tiger will more than likely go 3 up here.
2:13 p.m.: Meanwhile, behind all the chaos, Aaron Wise has now taken a 4 up lead through 12 holes on Brandt Snedeker. The golf gods are smiling down on Tiger right now. What a wild turn of events.
2:08 p.m.: OH. MY. GOODNESS! After safely playing a drive down the middle at the short par-4 13th, Tiger holes out from 83 yards for eagle and gives a vicious fist pump as the crowd goes wild. What a scene in Austin! Poor Patrick Cantlay was in complete control of this match a few holes ago, and he now finds himself 2 down with five holes to play. Don't make me say it .. don't... Okay, fine. VAGARIES!
`2 p.m.: Woods played an iron off the tee at the 12th and it paid off, as he hit his next up near the green while Cantlay was forced to lay up after hitting his drive in a fairway bunker. Cantlay then played his third well short of the hole, and Tiger chipped his third to a few feet. After a Cantlay miss, Woods holes his birdie and takes back the lead, 1 up. Impressive last hour from the 14-time major winner.
We've got our first two results of the day, the most important one being Henrik Stenson's 5 and 4 defeat of Jim Furyk. That gets Stenson to the Round of 16. The other result, Emiliano Grillo beating Eddie Pepperell 4 and 3, means nothing, as the key match in that group is the last of the day between Justin Rose (1-0-1) and Gary Woodland (2-0-0).
1:42 p.m.: Back at No. 10, Aaron Wise makes a birdie to go 3 up on Brandt Snedeker. Things are suddenly going Tiger's way.
1:40 p.m.: BANG! Big-time putt from Tiger at No. 11, as the Big Cat's 21-footer for birdie brings the crowd to their feet. Even better news for Woods? Cantlay misses his 10-footer, bringing the match to all square. The. Vagaries. Of. Match. Play.
1:34 p.m.: Tiger's tee shot at the par-3 11th was a good one, hitting the green right of the pin and rolling to 21 feet. Cantlay's was better though, as he stuck his in there tight to around 10 feet. The way he's been putting, that might as well be in already, so you have to think Woods is going to need to hole a long one.
1:31 p.m.: Cantlay played an excellent shot to a couple feet from behind the green, but not close enough for a concession from Woods. Tiger's birdie putt missed by inches, and Cantlay finished off his par to stay 1 up. Plenty of holes left but that halve feels like a big win for Cantlay.
1:27 p.m.: Looks like the door is open again for Tiger here at No. 10. After striping a wood down the middle, Woods knocked his 137-yard approach shot on the green and spun it hard to the left. He'll have 12 feet left for birdie, which could be to square the match after Cantlay's approach from the rough skidded well past the pin, eventually coming to rest off the back of the green about 60 feet away. This has the potential to be a huge two-hole swing for Woods.
1:15 p.m.: Tiger and Cantlay both rolled their putts outside gimme territory, setting up some knee-knockers. From six feet, Tiger's par effort catches the left edge and drops. Phew. His back to only 1 down. Behind them, Wise is 2 up through eight holes.
1:11 p.m.: Tiger pulls his approach shot left of the pin, but still has a look at birdie on the green some 30 feet away. Cantlay hits a good one with his third, and he'll have less than 20 feet for a par. Boy, would this be a dagger for Tiger if Cantlay rolls in another long one and halves the hole.
1:05 p.m.: Big chance for Tiger at the ninth, as Cantlay's drive rolls into the hazard down the left side. Tiger put his in the middle of the fairway. This hole is a must-win now.
1:02 p.m.: Tiger got too cute with his chip, which came up seven feet short of the hole. After Cantlay put his bunker shot to five feet, Woods missed his par putt and Cantlay made his. What a turn of events. Cantlay is now 2 up through eight, while Wise just took a 2 up lead on Snedeker. Tiger is still getting the help he needs, but he's now going to have to make a comeback in his own match if he wants to make the weekend.
12:56 p.m.: Cantlay ended up hitting a great shot from where he was, but it did end up in the front bunker. Up-and-down contest coming up.
12:50 p.m.: Tiger's drive found the right rough at the eighth, and he played a nice cut shot into the green but it rolled through, which will leave him a tricky chip. He's still in good position though, as Cantlay's drive hit the cart path a few times and ended up in a spot where his nearest point of relief will be around some rocks right of the cart path. This could take a while to sort out ...
12:44 p.m.: Cantlay left his birdie putt woefully short, and it looked like par might be enough for Tiger to win the hole. Instead, Woods misses his birdie, takes his par, and Cantlay pours in another great par putt from seven feet to halve the hole and stay 1 up on Woods. Back in the Sneds-Wise match, Sneds has cut Wise's lead to 1 up. Things not going Tiger' way at the moment.
12:37 p.m.: Cantlay safely plays his tee shot at the par-3 seventh about 40 feet right of the pin. Tiger throws a dart that hits a few feet from the hole and rolls out to 14 feet. Big putt coming up.
12:32 p.m.: And just like that, Tiger is now 1 down. Woods hit an ugly shot from a poor lie that came up short of the green, and then Cantlay chipped his to concession range. Woods didn't give him the putt though, and then he hit his fourth about 12 feet past the hole and still did not give Cantlay his birdie putt. Tiger's par effort sat on the edge and he scooped it away, and then Cantlay holed his birdie putt. Eventful.
12:27 p.m.: Great drive from Tiger at No. 6, but he badly pulls one left of the green, yielding a "FORE" yell. Cantlay's approach wasn't much better, also missing the green left, but he has a slight advantage at least being near the green. Woods' shot was left of the gallery.
Behind them, Aaron Wise has taken a 2 up lead through four holes. Woods is getting the help he needs (for now), he's just got to take care of his own business first.
Up ahead, Jim Furyk is battling, which should come as a surprise to no one. After going 4 down at the seventh, Furyk birdied No. 8 to cut the deficit to 3 down.
12:17 p.m.: Oh baby ... VAGARIES. After a really poor second shot from Cantlay, he ends up banging in the 14-footer for birdie anyway. Tiger, meanwhile, hit a great chip to 10 feet and then missed his birdie putt. The match is now "tied" again.
12:14 p.m.: Both Tiger and Cantlay piped their drives up near the green at the 378-yard par-4 fifth, and Woods' 39-yard chip rolled about 10 feet past the hole. Cantlay's drive ended up in a sprinkler head, and he took his drop and then hit a poor chip well past the hole. Good chance for Tiger to go 2 up here.
12:03 p.m.: Cantlay had the honor at the par-3 third and put his tee shot to 30 feet. Tiger followed and hit a good one to about 20 feet. After Cantlay missed his putt, Woods buries one and gives a nice little fist pump to take back his 1 up lead. Meanwhile, Wise remains 1 up on Snedeker through two holes.
11:54 a.m.: Scratch that. Woods did not give Cantlay his short birdie putt, instead attempting to apply some pressure with a birdie of his own. Tiger just misses, and then Cantlay pours his in to square the match.
11:50 a.m.: On cue, Cantlay and Woods hit great second shots, though Cantlay's was better. Woods hit one past the pin, sucked it back and nearly holed it, but it kept spinning out to 11 feet. Cantlay's is tight, and Woods gives it to him. He'll now have to make just to halve. Can you say VAGARIES??
11:46 a.m.: Tiger hits 3-wood down the left side and it just barely hangs on with the hazard or penalty area or whatever the hell they are calling it now. Dangerous. Cantlay stripes one right down the middle. This is a birdie hole, so I'd expect at least one of these guys to knock one close.
11:43 a.m.: Back at No. 1, Aaron Wise wins with a par to go 1 up over Snedeker. Looooooong way to go, but if you're rooting for Tiger to make the weekend, this is a dream start.
11:42 a.m.: Tiger clips a perfect chip just a few feet past the hole, marks it, and then Cantlay's putt rolls a few feet by to nervy range. Woods holes his par putt and Cantlay follows with a make of his own. No blood.
11:37 a.m.: Tiger's drive at No. 2 missed the fairway and ended up on a mound, leaving him with a baseball stance. He hit a beautiful sling draw that got knocked down by the wind, but he's still in a good spot just short of the green. Cantlay's drive was perfect, but his approach was a little long, though it still came to rest on the green and he'll have less than 30 feet for birdie.
11:26 a.m.: From 65 feet, Cantlay misses his birdie putt and leaves himself with an eight-footer for par. Tiger goes next and nestles his 45 footer to tap-in range and Cantlay gives him the par. Then, Cantlay misses his par left of the hole, giving Woods a 1 up lead through one. Can't ask for a better start than that if you're Tiger.
Up ahead, the winner-take-all match between Jim Furyk and Henrik Stenson is looking over already. Obviously, there are a ton of holes to play, but Stenson has gone 3 up through four holes thanks to back-to-back birdies.
The Iceman is throwing DARTS.
11:22 a.m.: Cantlay's ball ended up in a good spot, leaving him with a shot he could play low and run up to the green, which he did. He'll have about a mile left for birdie though, but Woods' isn't much closer after hitting his 106-yard approach shot well short of the pin. Looks like barring a bomb of a putt, this one will likely be halved with pars.
11:15 a.m.: Okay, time to just play golf and forget about all the scenarios for a little while. Woods rips a drive down the left side that gets a really fortunate kick off a mound left of the fairway and rolls into the fairway. Cantlay follows with a bad miss right of the gallery and into the trees. Advantage: Tiger.
11:01 a.m.: In case my rambling second paragraph didn't cover it all or it just confused the hell out of you, this tweet from Tiger Tracker should help:
I officially have a headache.