Mac shines as Rory and Tiger prove hit and miss

Bubba Watson
USA TODAY Sports Images
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18 February, 2018

"I think it would be a smart sign if I didn't play".

"I just feel like I'm a way better player this year", said Saunders, who tied for eight in last month's CareerBuilder Challenge, his best finish in his previous seven starts this season.

Woods struggled at times with a new driver that has a stiffer shaft than his previous version.He took comfort, however, that most of his wayward drives headed in the same direction, to the right."The shaft is one I can go ahead and let it go", he said, explaining that he held back on a couple of drives.

"I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field", McIlroy told Golf Channel.

"It's great to see him healthy and pain free to where we can go out [on the course and] ... he's just enjoying having fun", Honda defending champion Rickie Fowler said earlier week.

Woods agreed, though the distractions come with the territory for the guy everyone wants to watch. "My wedge game is fine, but my normal iron shots that I've always dialed in for much of my entire career, it's just not there". "It's cost me a few tournaments here and there". I must have covered this event about a dozen times but there has never been a buzz like the one over the first two days.

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But as at Torrey Pines three weeks ago he displayed a solid short game in an eventful round that included five birdies, four bogeys and a double-bogey.

Or Friday at Riviera, where boisterous fans inserted themselves into the action on the field. His closest pursuer, Cantlay, is just one stroke back after closing with a 54-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.

"I didn't play very well on that back nine, and the feeling of not feeling very good over my putts finally caught up with me", Woods said.

As McIlroy alluded to, Woods has scarcely played under conditions any less strenuous.

That's tough [and] Tiger has to deal with that every single time he goes out to play.

Cantlay, a Southern California native seeking his second US PGA Tour title, broke free of a chasing pack. A man who has barely played for three years, who has spent longer during that time flat on his back, unable to move, than he has on the practice range, coming straight back out at the age of 42 and competing again?


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