DUBLIN, Ohio – When the weather warning horn echoed across Muirfield Village just past 4 p.m. on Friday, Tiger Woods cringed.
It wasn’t just that the delay – which stretched over an hour – might slow his momentum following birdies at Nos. 7 and 9 and an eagle at the 11th hole, there was legitimate concern.
“I wanted to hit that putt, I wanted to keep it going because I was in the rhythm of the round,” he said of his 6 footer for birdie at the 12th hole that he would miss after returning from the delay. “It’s weird to say, but this is my first delay this year coming back out of it. I was a little bit worried about how my back was going to feel.”
Woods said he spent the delay pacing around the Muirfield Village clubhouse in an attempt to keep his back loose, particularly a day after he said he was slowed by “tightness” in his lower back.
“These are things that I don’t know yet. This is new, which is strange, I did it [golf] for 20-some-odd years,” said Woods, who would close with a 67 to move to within six strokes of the lead. “You would think I would understand it, but this is different for me.”
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Woods was grateful officials allowed players to warm up before sending them back out for the 5:40 p.m. restart. Woods’ play, at least his tee-to-green play, didn’t seem impacted, with stellar iron shots at the 12th, 13th and 16th holes coming in. Instead it was his putting that was the problem.
“[Woods’ back] feels fine. I kept moving,” he said. “It was nice to have a warm-up session, it really was. If I had to go right back out right away I would have been a little more concerned of the power output. I probably wouldn’t have hit the ball as far as I did.”