The prominence of a day was a small representation that landed soothing as a butterfly’s blink, bounced twice and rolled a rest of a approach like a well-struck putt, settling simply into a hole. But there was also a 25-foot birdie putt during his initial hole Friday morning. And a motorist he smoked past both his personification partners 7 holes into his round. And a throng he stranded to dual feet. And a pleasing fort shot to save standard on his final hole.
All that’s wonderful. But here was Tiger Woods during TPC Potomac during Avenel Farm, station over his spin in a center of a second fairway. It wasn’t terribly prolonged ago when a list of questions about Woods and his diversion was interminable. Will his physique reason up? Can he still putt? What’s with chunking all these chips? Each of Woods’s shots in his salad days invited possibility. For a while, any shot seemed to entice calamity.
“It’s fundamentally a present to be means to play again,” Woods pronounced a other day.
The gift, on a withering Friday during a Quicken Loans National, was examination this chronicle of Woods play golf. Take all a shots from above since they’re estimable of serve discussion. But when he got to his spin in a second fairway, a tee was 330 yards behind him. By a dimensions of his caddie, Joe LaCava, he had 280 yards to a front of a green. He pulled out 3-wood.
“Smoked it,” he said.
There aren’t many days like this, not adequate to win a golf contest — yet. But on Friday, during what is all though positively a final chronicle of Woods’s really possess Washington tournament, he served notice that he still has all a shots. Every singular one of them.
This 3-wood, it was gorgeous, a small cut from a left side of a fairway that carried those 280 yards and ran adult maybe 40 feet past a pin on a massive, 606-yard par-5. Because Woods began his second spin on a behind nine, a second hole was Woods’s 11th of a day. When he simply two-putted, he had a sixth of what would spin 7 birdies in his round.
So there we have it: Tiger Woods shot a 5-under 65 to put himself in a thick of a golf contest entering a weekend. Through 36 holes, he is 5 under, 4 shots off a lead of Ryan Armour, Brian Gay and Beau Hossler, who, during 23, is 19 years younger than Woods.
Given that golf, quite to a non-golf fan, still exists in a binary universe — possibly Tiger is playing, or Tiger is not personification — Washington’s internal stop now gets a boost over what promises to be a breathless weekend. Tiger’s not only here. He could contend.
We know, from what he did during a Valspar Championship in Tampa and a following week during a Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, what that still means. It means courtesy and hum that a game’s best players — Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas — still can’t deliver.
If Washington is scheming to tumble off a PGA Tour calendar — and it is — maybe Woods can give it a weekend value remembering.
“I’m not that apart back,” Woods said. “I’m in a identical position to where we was during Valspar. The scores aren’t going to be that low, and it’s going to be prolonged grinds. It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be prolonged grinds.”
If we follow a PGA Tour week-to-week, we have listened Woods over a march of this year speak about a doubt he faced during this indicate — heck, during many points — final year. Because he has pronounced them time and again — how removing out of bed was difficult, how he wasn’t so most as authorised to pitch a putter, how competing on debate was such a apart suspicion it seemed diverting — it’s easy to spin dull to how poignant his injuries were.
When we watch him mount over that 3-wood and slice it those 280 yards during No. 2 here, contend to yourself: 4 behind surgeries. Count ’em. Four.
“No one’s had clubhead speeds as what I’ve had on a debate this year with a reduce behind fusion,” Woods said. “These are things that we didn’t know we could do, and all of a sudden, I’m doing it. I’m competing. I’m playing, and I’m carrying only a good time doing it.”
He has pronounced all this before, though that doesn’t make it reduction true. The elementary suit it took to boyant his chip on TPC Potomac’s 18th hole — his ninth of a day — and send it opposite a immature for a birdie that kept his spin going? A year ago, he couldn’t do even that.
And for during slightest one round, he putted a bit like his aged self, too. Yeah, there was a three-putt during a par-3 17th that led to one of only dual bogeys on a day. But a mallet-style dabble he put in his bag this week after a substantial volume of concern done birdie putts of during slightest 18 feet during Nos. 10, 12, 15 and 3. Plus, when a spin could have crumbled, he scrambled. A somewhat careless tee shot during a eighth left him in a front bunker. He got adult and down. His tee shot during a par-3 ninth, his final hole of a day, found a front bunker, too. Again, he saved his par.
“I didn’t wish to remove it on a final integrate holes,” Woods said. “And we could have simply mislaid it.”
So what have we found? It’s still towering to consider a final of Woods’s 14 vital championships came some-more than a decade ago, during a 2008 U.S. Open. But even some-more overwhelming is that his final feat of any kind came in Aug 2013 during Firestone in Akron, Ohio, where he has won 8 times.
Since then, Woods has missed radically 2½ years of foe — and has missed 10 cuts when he did spin up. From 1996 to 2011, he missed 10 cuts. Staggering.
So we’re traffic with a opposite man in opposite circumstances. The doubt that matters: Do all those good shots, all a ability that’s still in there, meant he can still win?
“As a years progress,” Woods said, “I consider I’m not that apart divided from putting it together where we can win.”
On Friday, he put it together. Put all a other hullabaloo about his contest and his health aside. When Tiger Woods does that, it’s still a pristine pleasure to watch.
For some-more by Barry Svrluga, revisit washingtonpost.com/svrluga.