|Tiger Woods trails Rory McIlroy by just two shots heading into Sunday. (AP)|
On Saturday at TPC Boston, Tiger Woods teed off with his predecessor, Rory McIlroy almost in the clubhouse with a second straight 65. The dream matchup on everyone's mind at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Tiger headed out knowing that 12-under would be the score to match if he wanted to find himself next to McIlroy come Sunday, and finally put together a battle between the two biggest names in the game.
And it seemed at the start that Tiger would do just that. Woods, starting on the front side in his second round, made two opening birdies, looked sharp and seemed to be swinging as good if not better than he had during his opening 64 on Friday that included a stretch of six straight birdies.
But as things go with Tiger, the swing seemed to be in and out most of the day. He made a sloppy bogey on the par-3 third hole, couldn't birdie the par-5 seventh for the second consecutive day and added another bogey on No. 11 when his putter seemed to disappear during the middle of the his round. Tiger didn't seem to let that get to him, however, making two closing birdies over his final seven holes to land at 10-under, a great spot heading into the final two days.
Statistics don't always tell the tale of a week, but for Tiger, it's worth looking at. He's T-17 in accuracy off the tee, seventh in driving distance and T-3 in greens in regulation (a stat he used to dominate when he was really playing good golf).
The difference in his round on Friday and his round on Saturday was, of course, with the putter. Tiger needed 30 putts in his second round, missing some short, makable putts throughout his round that could have landed him in that final group with McIlroy.
But still, good playing by Tiger, who is T-3 with Ryan Moore and in a great position to snag a fourth title in 2012. The problem is, of course, the first 36 holes have been easy going for Tiger throughout the season. He's been in the top-10 seven times this year after two rounds, but was able to win just two of those events, so if he's going to compete against this stacked leader board on Sunday and Monday at TPC Boston, he's going to need to bring the same mindset he had at the Memorial and the Arnold Palmer and forget what happened at Olympic Club and Kiawah Island.
The nice thing is, if Tiger could keep this going, and Rory continues to play TPC Boston like he built the place, there is a very good chance that we could see these two battling on Monday for the first time in their careers.
Hopefully it happens. Hopefully it's as exciting as we all want it to be, and hopefully, if it does boost the golf needle, the Ryder Cup captains are watching and remember these two on Sunday at Medinah.