First hole at Torrey Pines bites Woods again

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[January 25, 2020]  SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The first hole on the Torrey Pines South Course tripped up Tiger Woods once again on Friday in the second round at the Farmers Insurance Open.

After hitting his approach shot to 25 feet at the par-four hole, Woods shockingly four-putted for a double-bogey -- the 13th four-putt of his PGA Tour career.

While many players would have been left deflated, Woods muttered an expletive, got the anger out of his system, and fought back to card a respectable one-under-par 71 that left him six strokes behind halfway leader Ryan Palmer.

Woods double-bogeyed the same hole three times at the 2008 U.S. Open, each time hooking his drive way left, though those dropped shots were not enough to stop him from winning the championship for his 14th major title.

It would be another 11 years before he claimed number 15, at last year's Masters.

It was the putter, rather than the driver, that caused him problems this time.

After stroking his first putt up to barely two feet from the cup, Woods rammed his second putt so hard it not only missed the hole but rolled five feet past.

He blamed poa grass, a strain common in California that typically grows quickly and sometimes leaves putting greens bumpy, for the missed effort.

"I tried to ram it in the hole and it bounced," he said. "It's just what happens on poa. I tried to take the break out and it just bounced."

He had no excuses for his third putt.

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Tiger Woods watches his shot from the third tee during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course - South Course. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

"Obviously a terrible third putt, pulled it," he said.

Woods, who is tied with Sam Snead for a record 82 PGA Tour victories, goes into Saturday's third round equal 17th at four-under 140.

He has won eight professional events at Torrey Pines including the U.S. Open, and is optimistic that a ninth is within his sights if he putts competently.

"I am excited about the way overall that I felt like I'm driving the golf ball," he said.

"My short game has been really sharp, just a matter of getting the ball in the right spots to make some more putts.

"Anything can happen on the South Course, especially the way it's playing now. It's so much more difficult and I think so much more volatile because of the fact that if you shoot a good round out here you'll move up the board."

(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina/Peter Rutherford)

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