Tiger Woods entered this week with 15 major championships victories on his resume and he’ll likely still be at that number come Sunday night, but when he tapped in for par on 18 on Friday to close out an incredible second round 69 to make the cut by two strokes it sure felt like he won this 2022 PGA Championship.
He didn’t, of course. There are still two rounds left to be played and at 3-over for the tournament, Tiger is 12 strokes behind the leader, Will Zalatoris.
Chances are Tiger won’t in the middle of the battle for the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday afternoon. Somebody else will likely hoist that beast of a trophy into the air and have their lives change with the win.
But Tiger will be there over the weekend, dragging his bad leg around Southern Hills CC, sweating his you-know-what off and grinding over every shot like it’s for the win.
What Tiger did Friday in steam Tulsa was nothing short of incredible. It was awe-inspiring. It was beautiful. And it ended in style with an easy, ho-hum par on a very difficult hole.
How he got there, though, was the real story. Tiger double bogeyed the 11th hole to drop to 5-over, which was a shot outside of the cut. He was clearly in pain and nobody would have said a thing if the GOAT decided to just limp to the finish, miss the cut, and head back to his home in Florida.
But that’s not what Tiger Woods was built to do. Tiger Woods was built to never quit. Tiger Woods was built to keep fighting. Tiger Woods was built to keep treating each shot as if it’s the only shot that matters.
Tiger played the final seven holes at 2-under, with birdies on 13 and 16 and pars on the others. He pushed his way inside the cut line and into the weekend, giving us all more opportunities to watch the Tiger Show for a few more days.
Think just making the cut isn’t that a big a deal? Look at what happened to the No. 1 player in the world, Scottie Scheffler, who was the favorite coming into this thing. He’s heading home after missing the cut by two strokes.
Tell that to Dustin Johnson, too, who also missed the cut by two strokes.
Collin Morikawa, the No. 3 player in the world, made the cut but he did it on the number and trails Tiger by a stroke.
All three of those guys are some of the best players in the world and were huge parts of the US Ryder Cup team last year and they’re all in a familiar place tonight – looking up at Tiger Woods on a leaderboard.
Just look at what Tiger has done at the Masters last month and this week at the PGA Championship:
This Tiger Woods isn’t like the old Tiger Woods who would run through fields and dominate majors. But watching him plod his way around the course on Friday and force his way into the weekend by not giving up and playing through so much pain was pretty damn fun to watch.
Now we get two more days.
Let’s enjoy it.
Let’s also look at some of his big moments from Friday.
Tiger made birdie on the 5th hole after this approach shot.
This was a beauty.
He birdied the par-5 13th.
This was a terrible camera angle but a huge putt.
Look at his final scorecard.
What a day.
Rory McIlroy was in awe of Tiger’s performance.
Rory played with Tiger the past two days and said he would have WD’d after Thursday’s round.