Tiger Woods was laboring early in his second round. Stuck at 2-over and staring at his second-consecutive missed cut, the 14-time major winner needed a boost to jumpstart his game.
So he did the only thing he could think of: he swapped out his right Nike shoe for a new wheel on the sixth hole. (Truthfully, the eyelet on the shoe had torn, requiring Woods to make the switch, mid-round.)
OK, changing kicks probably didn't lead to Woods' 4-under 68 at the Players Championship, but for some reason, the shoe-swap seemed to add a little pep to his step, as Woods reeled off four consecutive birdies — for only the second time this year — to make the cut with relative ease.
Even better? Woods is now only six back of the leaders going into the third round — something that didn't even seem possible after his opening-round 74. That doesn't mean he'll be right there on Sunday, but after nine rounds of mediocre golf over the last couple of months, just seeing a 68 on the scorecard and being within striking distance has to feel like an accomplishment.
Woods did a lot of things right over his last his final 12 holes on Friday, but it was his ability to capitalize on the par-5s that allowed him to make up some serious ground on the leaders. After playing the previous 28 three-shotters in 4-under, Woods managed to go 3-under on TPC Sawgrass' four par-5s.
"I have to play them better than I've played the par-5s, period," Woods admitted. "We as players have to take care of the par-5s."
That coupled with hitting 78 percent of his greens in regulation allowed Woods to remain in the hunt. After two years of bailing early at the Players due to injuries, it'll be nice to see what he can do on the weekend with a couple more "reps."
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