SAN DIEGO – Thirty-six holes into Tiger Woods’ most recent comeback, there was plenty to digest on Friday at Torrey Pines:
• Smoke and mirrors. Although it added up to a 1-under 71, Woods’ ball-striking was what one would expect – rusty. He hit just 3 of 14 fairways and needs to clean that up if he hopes to contend any time soon.
• Chip on his shoulder. For all the talk about his poor chipping at last month’s Hero World Challenge, which was played on Bermuda grass, Tiger was nearly flawless on Friday with key saves at Nos. 3, 5 and 6.
• Saving grace. After making just 34 feet of putts on Thursday, he exceeded that on the first hole (his 10th of the day) when he charged in a 45-footer for birdie. All told, there were just 23 putts, including 10 on his closing nine.
• If his putting and chipping was the good news, his driving was a reason to break a golf club. He wildly missed drives left, like his opening tee shot that went 65 yards wide of the fairway, and right, like on his 14th hole when he was nearly as far off the mark.
• For all the talk of baby steps and progress, Tiger’s 1-under total was good enough to assure a weekend tee time for the first time in an official PGA Tour event since the 2015 Wyndham Championship.
• Not that it will matter for another 12 months, but there was a time when Tiger wasn’t crazy about playing the North Course, which has always been dramatically easier than the South. That’s no longer the case after a redesign of the North two years ago which produced a course that’s more to our man’s liking.
• After nearly a year of no tournament golf, and a cool start to the day that certainly had Tracker feeling his age, Tiger didn’t appear slowed in any way and, let’s face it, that’s all that mattered this week.