News & ToursAugust 5, 2011

Woods loses ground, claims he's close

AKRON, Ohio - Most players coming off an injury might need time before they feel ready to win a golf tournament.

That suggestion was put forth to Tiger Woods Friday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as a way to soften the blow of a rather disappointing round of golf at Firestone CC.

Softening declined.

"I'm not other guys," Woods snapped.

Right now, he's sort of just one of the guys.

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A second-round 1-over 71 at Firestone's South Course was not the kind of result the former No. 1 player in the world was looking for after his opening 68. He offset four birdies with three bogeys and one double-bogey, giving him a 1-under 139 total that places him in the middle of the pack in his first tournament after 12 weeks off to recuperate from knee and Achilles injuries.

It was the fifth time this year that Woods followed up a round under par with one over par.

"I didn't putt as well as I did yesterday, and consequently I just never got the round going," said Woods after taking 29 putts, two more than Thursday outing. "Today was not very good."

Still, he remains encouraged by his ball striking.

"I was so close; I know my stats don't show it, but just the way I'm driving the golf ball, the start lines are so much tighter, and the shape of the shots are so much tighter," Woods said after hitting eight fairways and 11 greens. "Just like 'B' (caddie Bryon Bell) and I were talking out there, I'm so close to putting the ball on a string, so it's coming."

But it's not coming fast enough to yet put him in the conversation for winning his first tournament since 2009. But he still expects to be there, no matter the obstacles. He made that abundantly clear.

"Why show up at a tournament if you're not there to win?" he said. "There's no reason to come."

-- Dave Shedloski

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