Tiger eyes Masters glory after record 24th straight cut

Darren Walton |

Tiger Woods tees off at the 14th en route to making the cut for a record 24th time in the Masters.
Tiger Woods tees off at the 14th en route to making the cut for a record 24th time in the Masters.

Tiger Woods is on the prowl for a sixth green jacket after penning another glorious chapter in his storied career with a record-breaking 24th consecutive cut made at the Masters.

The 15-time major winner dragged his battered 48-year-old body around Augusta National for 23 holes on Friday in a mighty display of mental and physical resolve to earn another weekend tee time.

After starting the day at one under through 13 holes of his opening round, Woods dropped two shots to post a one-over 73.

Woods the crowd darling
Still the Augusta patrons’ darling, Woods will again be the centre of attention over the weekend. (AP PHOTO)

With the eye of a tiger, he then carved out an even-par second-round 72 in ferocious winds as the crowd rode his every shot.

On a day when pars were like gold, a thunderous “Tiger roar” reverberated around the course when he chipped in for birdie from the collar of a bunker on the par-3 sixth.

Further birdies on the third, eighth and 15th holes offset bogeys on four, five and No.14 as Woods eclipsed the cut record he previously shared with Fred Couples and Gary Player.

The former world No.1 – who had only played two competitive rounds since last year’s Masters – has now made the cut at Augusta every time he’s entered since first winning, by a record 12 shots, in 1997.

Woods leaderboard
Being not on the leaderboard won’t stop Woods believing he can win green jacket No.6 on Sunday. (AP PHOTO)

At one over for the tournament, and eight strokes behind mid-round on-course pacesetter Bryson DeChambeau, Woods is eyeing ever bigger history by matching Jack Nicklaus’s six Masters triumphs on Sunday.

“It means I have a chance going into the weekend. I’m here. I have a chance to win the golf tournament. I’m right there,” he said after conjuring up a series of incredible scrambling pars.

“The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course today.”

A stoic par at the last, when sand from the greenside bunker was whipping up across the green and into his eyes, typified Woods’ indomitable, never-say-die spirit.

“I’m tired. I’ve been out for a while, competing, grinding. It’s been a long 23 holes, a long day,” he said.

“But (caddie) Lance (Bennett) and I really did some good fighting today, and we’ve got a chance.”

Playing partner and joint halfway leader Max Homa said it was a dream come true enjoying a front-row view of the living legend, with a fused ankle and aching back, show his stuff.

“It was awesome. It really is a dream to get to play with him here,” Homa said after joining fellow Americans Bryson DeChambeau and world No.1 Scottie Scheffler atop the leaderboard at six under with a second-round 71.

“I’ve been saying I always wanted to just watch him hit iron shots around here, and I was right up next to him. It was really cool. His short game was so good.

“I don’t think I can explain how good some of the chip shots he hit today were.

“He’s special. We had a really quick turnaround, and if I was feeling tired and awful, I imagine he was feeling even worse.

“He just understands this golf course so well, but he hits such amazing golf shots. His iron play is so good that even when he did miss the green, you could tell he had so much control.

“And on 18, we had sandblasts for 45 seconds, and I turned around five times so I didn’t get crushed in the face, and he’s standing there like a statue and then poured it right in the middle.

“So all the cliches you hear about him and all the old stories about how he will grind it out, it was fun to see that in person.”

AAP