ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – It wasn’t as wet or cold as Muirfield in 2002. Maybe not even as mentally taxing as Turnberry in 2009, but Tiger Woods didn’t pause when asked if his second-round 73 in blustery conditions on the Old Course on Friday was his best of the year?
“Yes,” said Woods, whose round was one of the best on an afternoon that featured a rare play stoppage because of winds that gusted to 41 mph and pushed golf balls across greens. “It was certainly one of the tougher days I’ve ever played in a major.”
Woods also didn’t sound like a man who had thrown in the towel on winning his third St. Andrews Open, despite being eight strokes off the lead.
“Not exactly where I want to be. I’m not 12 under par,” said Woods. “But I’m 4 under, eight back and today was a day I could have easily shot myself out of the tournament.”
Part of that confidence stems from Woods’ solid ballstriking this week. He hit 10 of 16 fairways with a wind that most players say grew stronger after the suspension. He’s also aware that with more poor weather in the forecast and an untested front-runner in Louis Oosthuizen, an eight-stroke deficit is not as daunting as it may sound.
It’s worth noting that Woods has never come from behind to win a major championship. It’s also worth mentioning that he’s never lost an Open Championship as a professional at St. Andrews. We’re just saying.