These are the new realities for 42-year-old Tiger Woods. He had to grind out a round simply to be able to play on the weekend and is getting used to the ‘‘feels’’ of his surgically repaired back.
Woods didn’t have to race off to the airport Friday, after all. He made the cut right on the number in the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego by rallying with four birdies on his back nine for a 1-under 71 on the North Course at Torrey Pines.
Ryan Palmer was the 36-hole leader, with Jon Rahm is right behind, poised to reach No. 1 in the world.
Palmer finished eagle-birdie for a 5-under 67. He had a one-shot lead over Rahm, the defending champion who birdied two of his last three holes on the North for a 66.
Woods had to rally to make the cut in his return from a fourth back surgery. He was on the wrong side of the green on the par-5 ninth on the North and two-putted from 75 feet for birdie for a 71 to make the cut on the number.
It’s the first time in 29 months that Woods will be playing the weekend on the PGA Tour.
‘‘It was a grind,’’ Woods said a few minutes after walking off the course to cheers. ‘‘I fought hard. Typical, you know, just me going out there and fighting for whatever I can get. It’s all good.’’
This is only his second PGA Tour event since he tied for 10th in the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. He had two back surgeries that fall, and fusion surgery on his lower back last April.
When was the last time he felt this type of grind when he was healthy?
‘‘Physically healthy?’’ Woods replied. ‘‘Oh jeez, that was probably back in ’13. So, four, five, six years ago, somewhere around there. It’s been a while.’’
Thus Woods’s frequent mention of the ‘‘feels’’ of his body.
‘‘Totally different feels, because my body’s different,’’ he said. ‘‘I can’t tell you it’s the same feel I had then because I wasn’t fused. This is a different body. That’s why I’m excited to play the weekend, continue getting used to my feels, because they are different. I can do it at home and hit certain shots, but come out here in competition and my adrenaline goes up a little bit. I hit the ball further, but how much further? On top of that, what are my new feels going to be? These are the things I’m going to have to learn. I need more time under the fire of competition.’’
Woods started his round Friday on the par-5 10th and sent his drive 65 yards left of the fairway, forcing him to scramble for a par. He took a double bogey on the 459-yard, par-4 13th. That was the worst of it.
He began to right himself with a birdie on No. 1. He birdied No. 5 to reach even par and then got inside the cut line with a birdie on his 16th hole of the day, going 1 under for the first time in the first two rounds. He stumbled with a par on No. 8, but of his four birdies, none was bigger than the last one. He was one shot out of the cut line when he reached the far right side of the green on the par-5 ninth, some 75 feet away. Needing two putts for a birdie, he lagged it beautifully to a few feet short and tapped in.
LPGA — Brooke Henderson bogeyed the first hole to drop into a tie for the lead before the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in Paradise Island was suspended for the day because of high wind.
On Thursday, Henderson shot a bogey-free 5-under 68 in high wind to take a one-stroke lead in the season-opening tournament.Her bogey on the par-4 first dropped the 20-year-old Canadian into a tie with Australia’s Sarah Jane Smith and Spanish rookie Luna Sobron Galmes.
EUROPEAN — Welsh golfer Jamie Donaldson followed his opening 62 with a solid 3-under-par 69 to take the clubhouse lead in the fog-interrupted second round in the United Arab Emirates. None of the afternoon groups, including Rory McIlroy and defending champion Sergio Garcia, were able to finish their second round when darkness suspended play.