Kuwait Times

Adoring Augusta cheers Tiger into another Masters


AUGUSTA: Tiger Woods battled his way to a record 24th straight cut at the Masters on Friday with a dastardly wind conspiring against him but an adoring crowd cheering him through a marathon 23 holes.

For five-time Masters champion Woods, now 48, the milestone of surpassing Gary Player and Fred Couples’ streak of 23 straight cuts made was no doubt a matter of some pride. But despite his age, and more significan­tly the many injuries and surgeries that have taken their toll on his body, Woods remains the supreme competitor and his thoughts quickly turned to his goals for the weekend.

“It means I have a chance going into the weekend. I’m here. I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” he said, when asked of the significan­ce of his achievemen­t. Woods is on one-over 145 after two rounds, six strokes off the lead and with plenty to do if he truly is to get into contention for Sunday.

For the most, Tiger was solid rather than spectacula­r but at times in his second round, with an excited crowd backing him, the atmosphere of his heyday was back.

Crowds swarmed around him on the tee, rushed down the sides of the fairways to grab a look at his approach shots and the galleries around the greens were packed on every hole he played.

It certainly could have been a final round on Sunday around Amen Corner, holes 11 through 13, where spectators peeked over shoulders for a glance of his putts amid the whiff of freshly lit cigars.

Augusta loves Tiger and the feeling is mutual. “I’ve always loved playing here. I’ve been able to play here since I was 19 years old. It’s one of the honors I don’t take lightly, being able to compete,” he said.

“The years I have missed, I wish I was able to play because there’s such an aura and mystique about playing this golf course that I don’t think that — unless you have played and competed here — you probably don’t really appreciate.”

He parred all three holes at Amen Corner which in many ways summed up his round—rock solid and resilient with some superb short iron shots.

He made bogey on the 14th after going over the back of the green and missing a nine-foot putt for par but he bounced back on the par-5 15th with birdie and saw out the rest of his round with pars.

It was a calm end to a long day after he made three bogeys and three birdies on his front nine. He hit 25 of 28 fairways over his first two rounds, his best accuracy from the tee at Augusta since 1996.

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