US PGA Championship: Tiger Woods makes the cut, shoots 69 on Friday

By Sports Desk May 20, 2022

Tiger Woods rebounded from a disappointing opening round at the US PGA Championship to post a 69 on Friday and make the cut, even if he admitted "it wasn't pretty".

Woods was even par through the front-nine on his second trip around the course, and birdied the 10th to move to one under, but a double-bogey on 11 after a run-in with a bunker threatened to end his week early.

The double moved him to five over for the tournament, with the cut-line at four over, meaning he needed to go under-par over the last seven holes.

He did just that, birdieing the par-five 13th hole to move onto the cut line, and converting another birdie on 16 to give himself some breathing room. His late run included six consecutive one-putt finishes leading up to the 18th.

Speaking to ESPN while still dripping with sweat, Woods said he embraced the grind down the stretch, and had some optimism for the weekend.

"I knew what the [cut-line] number was – I just needed to go out and do it," he said.

"I started off the back-nine exactly how I wanted to – made birdie at 10 – and then I almost whip-hooked it there on 11 and made double, and next thing you know I'm outside of the cut-line.

"I had to grind and go to work, and I did, and made it. Hopefully this weekend I can get a hot weekend with some tough conditions, and you never know."

When asked about the ways he is limited by his injuries, Woods did not shy away from it, but said his mission is still to win.

"There's a lot of things – but it's just the way it is," he said.

"Over the course of my career I've used my hands quite well, and relied on feel and hitting shots. When you're out there it's just about hitting the ball the right number and getting it done.

"There's a mission – the mission is to go ahead and win this thing somehow. I know sometimes it doesn't exactly feel well, but that's just what it is. That's life, that's sports. 

"We push it, and sometimes it breaks, but that's okay. You get back out there, and that's why I've got great PT staff.

"I'm really good at breaking things, and they're really good at fixing things, so it's a great relationship

"It wasn't exactly the way I wanted it to be – it wasn't pretty. It wasn't what Bubba [Watson] is doing out there right now [tying Woods' course-record of 63]. But hopefully I can do that this weekend."

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    Reed has been in the spotlight at Emirates Golf Club after the American threw a tee towards McIlroy, having been snubbed for a handshake following a dispute between the pair.

    LIV Golf star Reed was the centre of attention again on Sunday when he took an unplayable penalty drop after his ball got lodged in a tree, with question marks raised over whether it was in fact his ball he had identified by using binoculars.

    When the tournament finally came to an end on Monday as a result of poor weather last week, Reed carded a seven-under 65 to ramp up the pressure on McIlroy.

    A birdie at the 18th for Reed drew him level with the Northern Irishman at the top of the leaderboard, but McIlroy sunk a putt from 15 feet for a gain of his own to finish on 19 under with a round of 68 and take the title.

    McIlroy had put a stray tee shot just short of the water at the last hole, but got himself out of trouble to seal a third Dubai Desert Classic win that he said was all the sweeter given he denied Reed.

    Reed said: "I knew what I had to do early. I went out there and I put the pressure on him. Being four back of a guy like Rory is not easy.

    "I battled it out, but missed a great opportunity on 15. The only real bad shot I hit was the tee shot on 16 [which resulted in his only bogey of the day]. Ended up behind the tree."

    On the subject of trees, Reed was unperturbed over questions being raised about his integrity on Sunday.

    "I don't really look at media or social media whenever I'm playing a tournament," he said. "Normally it's always negative, so I try to stay away from it.

    "I've heard about it, but really all I can say is that I looked through the binoculars, identified my golf ball and explained what my markings were to the rules official. He looked and he identified [the ball] exactly the same way I did."

    He added: "The good thing is I know who I am. All I can do is focus on my golf and focus on me. Felt like I've done that this week. Felt like I played great.

    "It always seems to come down to Rory and I. We love to put on a good show. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong end of this one. Hats off to him, he played some great golf, especially on the weekend.

    "It would have been even better if both of us were in the same group. But whenever he and I are battling, we have fun and epic battles."

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    The breakaway tour, headed up by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), started last year and caused ripples across the world of golf.

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    Rory McIlroy said his victory over Patrick Reed at the Dubai Desert Classic was "sweeter than it should be or needs to be".

    World number one McIlroy clinched his third title at the event in a thrilling final round, making a fine birdie at the last hole on Monday to fend off rival Reed.

    Prior to the tournament American and LIV Golf defector Reed labelled McIlroy an "immature little child" for blanking him at the practice range and was also alleged to have thrown a tee at the Northern Irishman.

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    McIlroy took a three-shot advantage into the final round, but victory could have slipped from his grasp when a tee shot held up close to the water on the 18th.

    Yet the 33-year-old kept his cool to set up a 15-foot putt, which he sunk to avoid a play-off.

    "Honestly I feel like I got lucky my ball didn't go in the water off the tee shot, it's such an awkward tee shot, driver's too much, three wood's not enough. I tried to hit an easy driver and it came off too hot," McIlroy said.

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