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The Tiger Show

A?look at 11 key holes: Thursday vs. 2008 Buick Invitational second round (the last time he won on the North Course)

A look at 11 key holes: Thursday vs. 2008 Buick Invitational second round (the last time he won on the North Course)

No. 1, 515-yd Par 5
2008: Birdie
2011: Par
This was actually his 10th hole on Thursday and it was another missed fairway with an average approach shot.

No. 2, 329-yd Par 4
2008: Birdie
2011: Birdie
Just in case you forgot how strong he is, Tiger drills an iron from the deep rough to within two feet of the hole.

No. 4, 434-yd Par 4
2008: Birdie
2011: Par
Another accurate swing off the tee but his mid-range putting definitely needs work. His 16-footer never had a chance.

No. 6, 212-yd Par 3
2008: Par
2011: Birdie
Hits another green but actually barrels in the 20-footer. If he starts knocking these down regularly, watch out.

No. 9, 547-yd Par 5
2008: Birdie
2011: Par
Short game negates a sick rip out of the rough on his second shot. Leaves chip short, misses another midrange putt.

No. 10, 417-yd Par 4
2008: Par
2011: Par
Pulled out the 3-wood and hit the fairway with his first drive of the day. A nice chip set up a tap-in to save par.

No. 12, 214-yd Par 3
2008: Par
2011: Birdie
The biggest roar of the day after he hits an iron within three feet. Sean Foley’s work really showed on the par-3s.

No. 13, 471-yd Par 4
2008: Birdie
2011: Par
Controlled emotions. There’s no serious frustration like 2010 with a miss off the tee, which was hardly punishing.

No. 14, 526-yd Par 5
2008: Par
2011: Par
Crushes his drive but goes left. Searching for lethal blend of power and accuracy, but you sense it’s not that far off.

No. 16, 392-yd Par 4
2008: Birdie
2011: Par
Beautiful tee shots but can’t take advantage of a 70-yard approach, leaves it way too far out. Seems content with a two-putt.

No. 18, 516-yd Par 5
2008: Birdie
2011: Par
Another huge swing from the rough, but unlike his clutch putt at the ’08 Open, his 8-footer is too far left.

This weekend

Worst-case scenario: The South Course, which Woods will play Friday and then over the weekend if he makes the cut, is much more challenging than the North. If he sprays his drives like he did Thursday, he could have a string of consecutive bogeys, falling out of contention in the last two rounds.

Best-case scenario: Tiger stays somewhat accurate off the tee and starts stroking putts like he did in 2008, when he won this tournament by eight strokes.

Prediction: He has never finished outside the top 10 in 14 season-opening tournaments. That streak’s in serious jeopardy. Tiger’s swing will produce some feel-good moments, but it won’t produce a win.

 
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