Tiger Woods’ US Open looked disappointing after two days. With Tiger Woods’ US Open standing in the middle of the pack before Saturday, Woods looked to add to his recent losing streak. A 74 and a 72 in the first two rounds was no longer unexpected, as fans were getting used to his newfound mediocrity. But, yesterday, perhaps for the first time since he came back, he showed signs of his old self again. If he has another round like it, Tiger Woods’ US Open could be a turning point for him, even if he doesn’t win.
The tournament couldn’t have started any worse for Woods, as he was seven shots back, and Phil Mickelson was stealing all the headlines. With Mickelson’s 66 on Friday putting him two shots behind, it looked to be his weekend, while Woods’ US Open was just another failure.
However, the narrative completely changed on Saturday, as the world’s No. 1 surged to a 66 of his own. With eight birdies for the day, and one on each of the last three holes, Woods is now at -1 going into today. He is in sole possession of third place, while Mickelson faded to +2.
Now, Tiger Woods’ US Open outlook has completely changed. Asking for another 66 might be too much, but, if he shoots under par, and Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell struggle, he could be a major factor. However, he is still five shots down, and hasn’t come from behind to win a major before.
At this point, it might just be a win for him to sniff contention. Ever since the Masters, Woods has had progressively worse results, as fans wonder if – not when – his old self will reemerge. Yet, Tiger Woods’ US Open will end with him in contention, just like at the Masters, so he is still a factor when it matters most.
The problem is that he hasn’t won a major in awhile, which was a concern even before his sex scandal. Woods hasn’t won a major since his famed 2008 US Open triumph on one leg, and still might be too far back this year. Although Woods has experience in coming back at Pebble Beach, that happened years ago, while Johnson has won the last two Pebble Beach Pro-Ams.
Even if he doesn’t win, Tiger Woods’ US Open will be considered a success if he stays close all day. That might speak to his diminished expectations now, but fans and experts now realize he will have to take baby steps first. However, a full-on comeback today will return Woods to legend status, and do more to erase his infamy than anything in the last eight months.
Woods’s final round will begin at 5:05 p.m. est, as he seeks one more surge at Pebble Beach.
ESPN- “Fear factor gone, but Tiger in the mix”
SkySports- “Tiger – it’s been a while”