Tiger encouraged by second-round 70 in Bahamas

Tiger Woods struggled down the stretch but said he felt better about the 2-under-par 70 that he shot in the second round of the Hero World Challenge on Friday.

After opening with a 75 on the Albany course in the Bahamas on Thursday, Woods fired out of the gates with a pair of birdies to open his second round. He made the turn in 4-under 32 before the round stalled out. Woods’ struggles began with a bogey on No. 13 and he carded two more bogeys before a birdie on the par-3 17th hole.

“It was better than yesterday, for sure,” Woods said. “I’ve been more committed than I was yesterday. I made a few mistakes and overall the round was better, for sure. The start was better, the middle part of the round was better.

“I missed a couple putts there towards the end I thought would have kept the round going and, unfortunately, it kind of stalled out a little bit. Certainly better than it was yesterday.”

Woods is 1 over for the tournament, sitting in 15th place at the halfway mark. He is 10 shots behind the lead shared by Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth.

Scheffler, the world’s No. 1 player who is competing in his first stroke play event since the Tour Championship, reached 10 under before a bogey on the 18th hole forced him to settle for a 66. Spieth had an opportunity to pull ahead shortly after, but saw his birdie putt narrowly miss on the final hole and he carded a 67.

Scheffler is trying to win the event after finishing runner-up to Viktor Hovland each of the past two years. Hovland is tied for 16th place at 2 over along with Keegan Bradley. Only three players sit behind them in the 20-player field.

Woods is playing in his first tournament since withdrawing from the Masters in April. He’s using this week as a “beta test” to see what he needs to do to be able to compete over 72 holes across four days.

He was asked what he has been most encouraged by through the first 36 holes of his latest comeback.

“I think being able to compete and play again,” Woods said. “I haven’t done it. And I know that.

“I was telling you guys, my ankle doesn’t hurt, which it doesn’t. Other things are bugging me and bothering me, but the ankle’s fine. That was nice to be able to get out there and walk and not feel the things I felt early in the year while playing and trying to, I guess, knock that out of the memory banks and create new ones.”

Woods said this week will help him analyze where his body is at, what he needs to work on in the gym and create a plan for preparing for tournaments next year.

“I can play at home, I can walk, walk beaches, do all those things at home, but it’s different when you’re at game speed,” he said. “Game speed’s different than home speed. You can simulate all you want at home, and I had it the best I possibly can.

“We played a lot of money matches at home and tried to simulate it, but it’s just different. The mind’s racing more, the anxiety, the emotions are just different than at home. You can always drop a ball at home, no big deal. Here it’s going to cost you. Putting pen and paper together, it’s just a little bit different.”