Jordan and Tiger after two rounds
Jordan Spieth shoots 64 and 66 and sets a new 36 hole scoring record and leads by five going into the weekend. Meanwhile Tiger Woods shoots 73 and 69 to make the cut and in a tie for 19th. Both, in my mind, are major accomplishments.
I fully expect Jordan to win the tournament. The question is, “will he set a new scoring record?” He is presently 14 under par and Tiger’s record is 18 under par. The first two rounds have been a clinic on how to play a major event. From my viewing on television, his routine and flow around the golf course has been stellar. The pressure will be on him the last two rounds to close the deal. However, I don’t think he will fold. He looks comfortable and appears to relish the spotlight. I see in him a player that doesn’t play to the competition, but one that plays to his best each day. I see him in the mode of a Tiger Woods, Johnny Miller, or Rory McIlroy. When those players were playing their best, they continued playing their best and left the field in the dust and won by huge margins. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him set a new record of 20 under par and win by 10.
Tiger had so many question marks and obstacles to overcome to even play competitively in this event. His every shot and swing would be watched and analyzed even more closely. The delicate super sensitive short game shots, that are critical around Augusta National, would be severely tested. His recent tournament outings have been terrible, and that raised many questions that he could even compete successfully again. After an extended layoff and no competition, the odds of a successful tournament were in doubt. However the person that we saw this week and over the last two rounds had a swagger and body language that erased those questions. His critics were silenced. His short game was solid. His full game was rusty, but he showed signs of his old self. I expect continued improvement and maybe a top 10 finish. He will not be satisfied, but most experts will be quite impressed.
I don’t see Charley Hoffman making a run at Jordan, but Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson or even Phil Mickelson could make it interesting. But I don’t see Jordan surrendering the lead at any point and fully expect at least a six shot lead after tomorrows round.