After Tiger Woods shot a 2-under 69 on Thursday in Round 1 of the 2020 Genesis Invitational, I thought he was a tweak away from going a lot lower than that. Turns out, he made the tweak (better accuracy off the tee) but three or four other things came undone in the process. Woods followed his 69 in Round 1 with a 2-over 73 in Round 2 and sits at even par going into the weekend. Let’s take a look at how his day went at Riviera Country Club.
Front nine (even-par 36): Things on Friday started for Tiger just like they did on Thursday, with a 3 on his first hole. This time, he started on the back nine so the 3 was just a birdie, but it was still a good jump-start to an early Round 2. He also birdied the par-5 17th, but wedged a double-bogey between those at the par-4 15th when he left his approach in the bunker and it plugged. Out in 36.
Back nine (2-under 37): Three bogeys on this side for Woods against just one par made for a sour ending to what should have been a good 36-hole stretch. He inexplicably was not giving himself any chances with his short irons, and his flat stick didn’t make up for it (see stats below).
What went poorly: I said on Thursday that if Woods could just find the fairway on Friday that he’d score in bunches. I was … quite wrong about this. Woods drove it really well on Friday (we’ll get to that), but he lacked a lot with his iron play. He lost a stroke to the field on his approach shots on Friday after gaining three and a half on Thursday. He also lost two and half strokes with his putter and made just 47 feet of putts over the course of 18 holes.
What went well: Tiger drove it great! Six of seven fairways on the back nine of the course after hitting just one (!) of them on Thursday. He finished 118th (of 120) in driving in Round 2 but was easily in the top 20 on Friday. That was the key to a lights-out round, I thought. Silly me.
Stat of the day: Nine of Tiger’s missed greens on the day were from 185 and in. Six of them were from 150 and in! Six! And four of those were from the fairway.
Stat of the day No. 2: Tiger made two putts over 4 feet on Friday. He made 15 feet of putts on his back nine (front nine on the course). This is almost impossible!
Where he stands and what’s next: Woods is much closer to the cut line than he is to the lead. He’ll make it to Saturday (with an early tee time) and beyond, but he probably played himself out of an opportunity to win this event with that 73. Barring something like a 66-66 close or nasty weather in the afternoon on Saturday after he finishes up, Riviera will remain one of the few courses Woods hasn’t conquered over the course of his spectacular career.