A bad neck, an indifferent short game and a solid start to the second round by the overnight leader all stands in Tiger Woods’ way of adding to his Major tally, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
As Kevin Kisner raced into a somewhat comfortable lead at the top of the leaderboard, there was little comfort for Woods on Friday.
For the second straight day, Woods struggled with a neck strain and for the second day in a row, he carded a level par 71.
That, as of 6:30pm, leaves him eight shots off the lead.
Not a problem for the Woods we all used to know but a serious deficit for the current version after he took 32 putts on Friday. Add that to the five occasions where he failed to get up-and-down and the task becomes even greater. All that on top of a day where he hit 73% of fairways and 72% of greens in regulation means that if he misses a few more in either category and continues his struggles on the slower, but by no means simple greens of Carnoustie, and he’ll be blown out the back of the leaderboard before he tees off on Sunday.
‘I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit,’ admitted Woods after his round.
‘Right now I’m six back, and by day’s end I think I’ll be more than that. I actually played a little better yesterday. Today wasn’t quite as good. But I finally birdied a par-five. So that’s a positive.’
Post-round press conferences can be mundane and rarely informative and his comments mirror that sentiment.
He’ll need to find two or three more positive things, and enjoy a good night’s rest, to be able to talk about a gap that isn’t beyond even the best version of Woods.