“Ironically enough, I felt great with the putter, but feeling good with the putter from 40 to 50 feet is not good,” the world No. 1 figured following a second-round 73 that dropped him eight strokes off the lead.
For the second consecutive day Woods was saved, to a point, by his short game as he struggled to hit fairways with an increasingly balky driver. He connected with just four of 14 fairways in Round 2. Maybe even more concerning for Woods, he hit just two of 10 fairways with a driver in his hands.
“I just wasn’t able to get in a position where I can dial it in consistently,” said Woods, who referred to his driver swing as a “hot pull.” “The hot pull is fine. It’s easy to fix.”
Woods said his driving issues are “all aim,” as he tries to play a left-to-right ball flight. The result, however, was five drives that found the desert in toughening conditions at the Emirates Golf Club.
He will have two more rounds to work through his driver issues, but at 3 under par he’s tied for 44th and well behind midway leader Rory McIlroy, with whom he played the first two days.
“I just need to get the game to come around,” he said. “I need a lot of wind on the weekend and to play two great rounds.”