The Loop

Woods' putter keeps him in the hunt

August 14, 2010

HAVEN, Wis. -- After Tiger Woods watched his final birdie attempt snake toward the hole, skirting up against the fringe before tumbling down to within inches of the cup, he dropped his shoulders.

From 60 feet away, Woods had come within inches of a second consecutive birdie. Even more telling was that he fully expected to make it.

If no two tournaments have been the same for Woods in his curious 2010 season, this PGA Championship for him has already been defined by wayward ball-striking and brilliant putting. The world No. 1 experienced the exact opposite dynamic at the British Open at St. Andrews and he was never a factor. Here he moved to within earshot of the leaders at three-under 144.

"As I explained earlier at Aronimink and the British Open, I was hitting it great and putting like a dog, and look where I was," Woods said. "I'm not hitting it well here and I'm putting well and I'm right in the ball game."

After another morning session with swing instructor Sean Foley, Woods made three birdies and a bogey in 13 holes on Saturday, including a 45-footer for birdie on 14, and a 10-footer on the long par-3 17th that was set up by a bold 4-iron off the tee.

He would end up making par on No. 18, but only after an improbable 5-wood out of the bunker that he was forced to cut around the lip of the bunker.  His rounds of 71 and 70 at Whistling Straits are his first consecutive sub-par rounds since the Memorial in May.

-- *Sam Weinman *