IN HIS LAST full scheduled tournament before the Australian Open, Tiger Woods has made an unspectacular return to completive golf at the 2011 Frys.com Open.
Woods’ ball striking was reasonable in the opening round but his putting pretty awful. He finished with a 2-over 72 to be six strokes behind the joint leaders on 4-under.
“That’s probably one of the worst putting rounds I’ve ever had. I can’t putt the ball any worse than I did today,” Woods said after being beaten by four strokes by his 20 year old amateur playing partner Patrick Cantlay.
“The rest of the game was not too bad,” the former world No.1 now ranked 51st said . “I hit some bad shots, yes. But also I hit some really good ones. And very pleased at the shots I was hitting most of the day. But I got nothing out of the round on the greens. And whatever momentum I could have gotten by hitting good shots, you know, I just missed putts.”
What should be remembered is that Woods has only played a comparative handful of tournaments this year. He just looks like a player trying too hard. He should take a good look at young Cantlay during the second and remember he doesn’t have to muscle the ball into the hole. But advising people to just relax on the golf course is always much easier said than done.
Aussies fighting for cards
Again there are a number of Aussies in the field struggling to ensure their tour cards for next year.
You need to be in the top 125 in the money list for a full exemption while players from 125 to 150 get conditional status.
Going into the tournament this week were 11 Australians with four sitting between 100 and 125 and six outside the 125 barrier.
Marc Leishman was best placed at 94th, followed by Greg Chalmers (103), Nick O’Hern (111), Rod Pampling (119), Matt Jones (123), Steven Bowditch (130), Aron Price (161), Jarrod Lyle (164), Nathan Green (176), Cameron Percy (178) and Steve Elkington (195).
Already secure for 2012 and not playing this week are Jason Day, Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby. (Most of the top flight are sitting the Fall series out with the top ranked Frys.com player being world No.20 Paul Casey).
Sitting pretty so far at the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin California are a quartet of Aussies just one behind the four joint leaders, America’s Brendan Steele, Briny Baird, Garret Willis and Matt Bettencourt.
The Aussie quartet are Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, Rod Pampling and Aron Price.
A stroke further back on 2-under are Greg Chalmers and Jarrod Lyle, with Cameron Percy on even and the rest in the black.
After shooting 68 on what was a pretty miserable, cold, wet day, Matt Jones surprisingly said he wasn’t really feeling the pressure of the situation.
“If I do what I know I can do, it won’t be any problem,” Jones, sitting near the cusp at 123rd, said. “It’s just a matter of me putting two rounds and then four rounds together. Last week I got off to a great start and then had a tough second day, so I just have to come out here tomorrow and play well and see what happens.”
The 2011 Frys,com Open is being telecast live in Australian on Fox Sports.