DORAL, Fla. – GolfChannel.com senior writer Randall Mell is at Doral for the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He is providing a running blog for the featured grouping of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell. Follow him on Twitter (@RandallMell) for more updates, or for full-field scoring, click here.
(8:29 p.m. ET) Chance at redemption: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will tee it up again together Saturday in a two-ball pairing off of the 1st tee at 10:20 a.m. ET.
(6:44 p.m. ET) Tiger Woods hit two drives that made him look like a high handicapper in Friday’s second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
He hit a nosediving hacker’s hook that barely traveled 100 yards at the second tee, and he hit a pop-up tee shot at the 14th that could have invoked the infield fly rule.
Still, Woods’ putter may be the largest reason he’s not in the hunt this week after a 2-over-par 74 left him at even par and nine shots off the lead.
The flatstick, once his most reliable weapon, has to be a growing concern. Woods ranks T64 in overall putting average through two rounds at Doral. Only Alvaro Quiros ranks lower.
“Certainly was not one of my better putting rounds,” Woods said. “I had a hard time with the grain.”
Woods took 32 putts, but he failed to capitalize on so many chances. He missed seven putts of 9 feet or less.
“I feel great over the putts,” Woods said. “I just can't hit the putts hard enough. My feel on the pace was for the practice rounds. When the rain came in, it totally changed what I saw and what I felt. I’ve had a hard time making the adjustment.”
It was a tough day for the entire threesome. Phil Mickelson shot 71 and is also nine shots back. Graeme McDowell shot 73 with a one-stroke penalty added before he signed his scorecard because his ball moved after he addressed it at the ninth green. He’s eight shots back.
“We dragged each other down a little bit today,” McDowell said. “We started off with a beautiful crowd. I’m not surprised to see it dwindled on the back nine. I think they got a little bored.”
(4:53 p.m. ET) Woods could not hold it in any longer.
Simmering frustration finally came out at the 14th tee.
That is where Woods popped up a lousy rain-making tee shot that fell to earth a good 100 yards behind Mickelson's and McDowell's tee shots. Woods thumped his first club of the day hard into the tee box.
It was his second really bad tee shot, ranking slightly better than the diving duck hook at the 2nd hole.
(3:58 p.m. ET) After pushing his tee shot wide right at the 10th tee, Woods ambled away from everyone to a pond left of the tee box and put his head down.
He stayed there for a long time, even after Mickelson and McDowell left. He looked off into the horizon, almost meditatively. Surely, he is frustrated, but he showed no anger. He showed nothing but maybe a sliver of discomfort, arching his lower back briefly before heading down the fairway to join his group.
(3:28 p.m. ET) Mickelson and Woods should be paying attention to McDowell's smooth putting stroke. Perhaps they can absorb something.
McDowell poured in a 20-foot putt to save par at No. 7 with Woods missing a 5-foot birdie chance at the 8th.
Though McDowell is hitting it all over Doral, he is hanging in there at 1 under through nine holes, thanks to his ultra smooth putting stroke saving so many pars.
Woods is also at 1 under, with Mickelson 1 over.
(2:35 p.m. ET) A Tiger Woods fan waited at the back of the fifth green. He wore a vibrant red shirt with the words:
But the fan's timing was bad. Woods walked by him after missing a 4-foot putt for par. That's back-to-back bogeys for Woods.
Woods has yet to make a par today. He's started birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey.
McDowell is struggling to hit fairways. He just missed the sixth fairway by 25 yards left. Mickelson has yet to make a move.
It's McDowell 2 under, Woods 1 under, Mickelson even.
(2:02 p.m. ET) After no words in a long wait on the third tee, Woods and Mickelson were unusually chatty on a long walk together down the third fairway.
You can't help wondering what they were talking about. The Japan earthquake? The stock market? Bounceback birdies?
They both bounced back with birdies at No. 3.
Woods, by the way, rebounded beautifully from his duck hook at No. 2 with his third tee shot, carving a gorgeous 3-wood fade into the wind. Woods followed with a superb short iron to 3 feet.
McDowell caught a flier and could not get up and down from the back of the green.
It is now McDowell and Woods at 2 under, Mickelson even.
(1:24 p.m. ET) After a nice birdie to start the second round, Tiger Woods hit a high-handcapper duck hook off the second tee that barely traveled 100 yards.
Woods took a large divot with his driver.
There was lots of murmuring and groans through the gallery.
Woods' tee shot nosedived in the left rough before reaching the women's tees. Couldn't have been good for the confidence.
Mickelson and McDowell also started with birdies.