Golf is a funny and absurd game. Often times your score doesn't reflect how well or poorly you swung it that day. The putter can be the great equalizer.
It was for Tiger Woods on Thursday during the first round of the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park. Woods made over 100 feet of putts to put together his best strokes gained putting round since January. That putting display helped save the 15-time major champion from an erratic day ball-striking wise.
Friday's second round was a completely different story for Woods. While he drove the ball much better in Round 2, Woods couldn't get anything to drop with the flat stick, shooting a 2-over-par 74 to fall back to even par for the tournament.
"Yeah, you know, I drove it great today. That's one of the things I wanted to clean up from yesterday," Woods said after his round. "I didn't do as good a job yesterday of driving the ball as I needed to. Today was different. I drove it great. Missed a few irons on the short side. Didn't get up-and-down. And I really struggled with getting the speed of the greens today. They looked faster than what they were putting. They were firm coming into the greens, but they weren't putting as fast as they looked, and then as the day wore on, they got a little more fuzzy and got even slower, and I struggled even a little bit more hitting the putts hard enough."
Woods treated everyone to some fireworks on Thursday. Had crowds been in attendance they no doubt would have erupted over each putt Woods poured in. Instead, only an eerie silence greeted Woods as he jaunted around TPC Harding Park, with fans occasionally sticking their heads to through the fence to urge him on.
There were no fireworks Friday for Woods. He was unable to kickstart his round early, missing a birdie putt at No. 1 and leaving a par putt left at No. 3. An unspectacular round with two birdies and four bogeys followed as Woods and playing partners Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas struggled to pick apart San Francisco's municipal jewel.
Although he's eight shots back of 36-hole leader Haotong Li, Woods believes TPC Harding Park will be host to a number of weekend swings. Woods hopes he's one of the big movers Saturday by Lake Merced.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Woods said when asked if he expects some big swings over the weekend. “This golf course is -- with the dots for tomorrow, they've got them in some tough spots. Tomorrow I'm going off early and hopefully, I can get it going, drive the ball like I did today, hit my irons a little bit more crisp and be a little bit more aggressive on the putts.”
Major No. 16 isn't completely out of the cards this weekend for Woods.
But he knows he'll have to post a low number on moving day in order to be a factor on Sunday.