Tiger Woods is tied for second place at the British Open and I'm exhausted.
Seriously, I'm freaking tired.
Not because I got up at 3:45 a.m. Friday to watch Woods' round but simply because I watched Woods' second round.
He shot a 71 that took just over four hours to complete and at the end of the day was one shot behind leader Miguel Angel Jimenez.
It felt like four days.
Woods birdied the final hole, complete with a raise of his putter to the sky, to finish off his even-par round -- a round that was pretty good but probably should have been a 69. Here's a look at his scorecard:
Woods grinded as hard as I can remember him grinding at a major in recent memory as the course did its best to confuse and confound the 14-time major winner.
The ball was sticking on some greens, running through others, and generally doing whatever the heck it wanted to do on another dry, fast day at Muirfield. I joked at one point that I could just throw a golf ball out my office window and try to stop it on my driveway to simulate the conditions.
Woods, looking like he'd just been through the wringer, told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi after his round that he and Graeme McDowell ("G" as Tiger calls him) were toast by the end of their round.
"It was hard. G and I were talking about it today, the greens were totally different speeds," he said.
Woods made a bevy of 10-foot-plus par putts (enough to gray my hairs, much less his) but missed two four-foot bunnies that really cost him a strong round (that 69 I mentioned above). Putts he never misses. But still, those 10- and 12-footers might have saved his tournament.
On a day when nearly nobody in the afternoon groups was under par, Woods' name climbed the leaderboard. He is tied with Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson at 2-under 140. Jimenez leads at 3 under after shooting a 71.
So it wasn't what I predicted he needed to win (a 67 or better) but the course still played ridiculously difficult -- way tougher than I thought it would be for a Friday morning round.
Woods is still very much at the forefront of things. He's still the heavy betting favorite.
Woods told Rinaldi, "It's gonna get more difficult as the day goes on. Our last five holes got baked out pretty good."
And it was. First-round leader Zach Johnson could only muster a 75; and heck, Jimenez shot par and now leads.
Jason Dufner humorously tweeted Thursday night that the irony of a British Open course actually playing tougher when it's 75 degrees and sunny than when the weather is awful is not lost on anyone.
Weather or not, Woods is in the position he wanted when the week started: ready to make a move on Saturday toward the No. 1 spot on the leaderboard.
McDowell said: "Woods played conservative with his irons, which I expected. His iron play is impressive. I told him on 18, 'That was a clinic the last two days.' "
It really was.
If the course fails to soften, though, nobody is going to be making any monster pushes to the top -- the whole thing is going to be one big grind.
And when it comes to that, there's nobody better.