January 27, 2018 / 12:29 AM / a year ago

Tiger Woods' short game saved the day, says Hoffman

LA JOLLA, California (Reuters) - Tiger Woods “scrambled like Tiger scrambles” to make the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open on Friday, fellow competitor Charley Hoffman said after playing in the same group as the 14-times major champion.

Jan 25, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Tiger Woods (left) and Charley Hoffman shake hands after completing the 18th hole during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Woods was all over the North Course at Torrey Pines with a wild driving performance. He hit only three fairways, and many of his misses were by wide margins, a mix of pulls and pushes.

It was army golf — left, right, left, right — as they say in the United States.

But Woods displayed a sublime touch around the greens, seemingly laying to rest any suggestion that he has the chipping yips, and his ability to eke out a one-under-par 71 allowed him to make the cut, right on the number at one-under 143.

“That’s Tiger, not playing well and just going with what he’s got to make it happen,” four-times PGA Tour winner Hoffman told reporters.

“He played better yesterday. He struggled with driver a little bit (today) but he scrambled like Tiger scrambles, hit it out of the rough like he usually does.”

Woods, 42, is playing his first official tournament in 51 weeks.

He had a spinal fusion last April and made his comeback at the unofficial Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December.

He will start the third round on Saturday 10 strokes behind leader Ryan Palmer. Hoffman shot 70 for a combined three-under 141.

“To be completely honest, if he stays healthy I expect big things,” Hoffman said of Woods.

“It’s just fun to see the energy out here. When he’s out here it’s something special. He is the needle.

“There’s not a person in this field that isn’t rooting for Tiger Woods to be back in the game and be competitive. It’s what we want for the sport, it builds the game of golf and it’s great for the PGA Tour.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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