A common phrase this year – “Tiger’s back” – took on a new meaning Friday at The Barclays.
Woods felt a twinge in his lower back when he awoke and felt pain throughout the second round at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y. He overcame a bogey-bogey start, struggled in the simple task of retrieving the ball from the cup and stayed well within range of Nick Watney and the resurgent Sergio Garcia, who shared the lead going into the weekend.
As many injuries as Woods has gone through the past two years, the way he grimaced and walked gingerly made it look as if this could be another.
But that wasn’t the case.
“Must have slept funny on it,” Woods said. “Soft beds at the hotel, and woke up this morning with it stiff. As I warmed up, it got progressively worse, and then you saw what happened on the golf course. It hurt all day.”
He managed a 2-under 69, a good effort in the afternoon on greens that tend to get crusty.
More impressive were Garcia and Watney, also playing in the afternoon as they worked their way up the leaderboard. Garcia, who ended a four-year drought on the PGA Tour last week by winning the Wyndham Championship, made bogey on the third hole with what he called his worst swing of the week, and atoned for that with a tee shot on the par-5 fourth that restored his momentum and sent him to a 68.
Watney, whose season has been so dismal that he isn’t even in the Ryder Cup conversation as a potential pick, went eagle-birdie on the par 5s on the front nine and then survived a roller coaster of birdies and bogeys on the back nine that gave him a 69.
They were at 8-under 134.
Erik Flores shot a second-round 65 at the Web.com Tour News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, Tenn. to earn a two-stroke lead at 131. Tacoma’s Michael Putnam is six strokes behind at 137 heading into the weekend after a 69. Olympia’s Andres Gonzales (148) missed the cut with a 76. … Fifteen-year-old Lydia Ko shot her second straight 4-under 68 for a share of the lead with Chella Choi in the Canadian Women’s Open in Coquitlam, B.C. … Englishmen Mark Foster and Richard Finch shared the lead at 8-under 136 midway through the Johnnie Walker Championship in Gleneagles, Scotland.