For most of the afternoon Friday at Augusta National, McIlroy trailed Woods but the world No. 1 rallied for a back-nine 31 and birdied the final hole to pull even.
“I’m going to need four more nines like that to make a push,” McIlroy quipped.
He shot a second consecutive 71 and is tied for 19th place at 2 under par, 12 shots behind leader Jordan Spieth.
McIlroy certainly didn’t bring his best stuff to Augusta National this week in search of the final leg of the career Grand Slam and third consecutive major victory. On the front side McIlroy shot 40 and often missed shots in wrong places and missed a couple short putts for par. Adding to the misery was the fact that Spieth’s round was already completed and seeing a 14-under-par score posted on the leaderboard didn’t give McIlroy much hope.
“I would need to shoot a 14-under-par weekend and Jordan would have to play a couple average rounds,” McIlroy said. “Neither of those two things look like they’re going to happen.
“I’m just trying to go out there and play the best golf I possibly can and that’s about it.”