Tiger Woods faced a rollercoaster late, but he enters the weekend right in the thick of it.
A late double bogey-bogey stretch dropped Woods to a 2 over but he fought back with a late birdie to post a 1-over 71 in the second round of the Honda Classic and put himself with four of the lead (T-14) when he reached the clubhouse at PGA National.
A week after Woods faded late at the Genesis Open to miss the cut comfortably, he has looked demonstrably better. His opening 70 was promising, especially on the ball-striking front, but he needed to back that up.
He did so on a windy and difficult Friday.
The 42-year-old looked shaky early in Round 2, hitting wayward shots over the first three holes – including an iron off the par-4 second tee that went so far left Woods ended up inside a lateral hazard.
In fact, he nearly lost that ball but ended up finding it in a plant and took an unplayable. He later made a 9-footer on the hole just to save bogey.
But Woods rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the fourth and seemed to calm down from there. A series of pars followed, and then Woods electrified the course when he dropped a 24-footer for birdie at the ninth to go out in 1-under 34.
He was now 1 under overall and just three back.
Woods missed a good birdie chance from nine feet at the 10th but vintage Tiger reemerged at the next hole.
An iron into the rough at the par 4 forced a lay up, from which he knocked a wedge inside 13 feet. Now two off the lead, Woods faced this important par-saving putt to keep his round on track.
He drained it, and then showed what that meant by authoring a spirited fist pump. Woods then knocked one inside 9 feet at the 12th and had that birdie putt to move to 2 under and within one of the lead.Tiger
But the putt was always right and Woods settled for par.
From there, it was a scramble to the finish. Woods got up and down for pars from bunkers at 13 and 14, but his round appeared it might fall off the rails thereafter.
He immediately got swallowed by The Bear Trap (Nos. 15-17) when on the par-3 15th tee he dunked one short in the water. It would lead to a double bogey. Woods compounded the mistake by three-putting for bogey at the 16th.
He now entered No. 17, the toughest hole on the course and one of the most dangerous with water all around, 2 over and fading hard.
But Woods then hit a brilliant tee shot at the par 3, getting a draw to finish 12 feet away. He buried the putt for a huge birdie putt to move back to 1 over.
This is another great day to build on. After some early struggles, Woods looked pretty good driving the ball. His driver came alive a bit, especially on a 361-yard bomb down the fairway at the 10th.
He seemed to be hitting the shots he wanted from tee to green and most of his misses were good. His short game remains sharp and his putter was overall solid.
He just looked so comfortable, especially tee to green for a majority of the round, on a day where conditions were quite difficult.
But there remains plenty of room for improvement. Some sloppiness is definitely still there, and Woods missed some key birdie opportunities.
But through 36 holes, Woods is in firm contention to win. Just three starts in, that’s pretty exciting to see.
Magic’s Jonathan Isaac stands for national anthem as teammates, opponents kneel
Orlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand during the national anthem following the season restart … deciding against both kneeling and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.
The league’s coaches, refs and players — from LeBron James to Zion Williamson — have been using the anthem demonstrations to raise awareness as games pick back up in Orlando … a gesture that is being supported by NBA commish Adam Silver.
Isaac became the first player to choose to stand as the anthem was played before the Magic’s match-up with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday … while the rest of the team’s players and staffers took a knee.
It’s worth noting — Silver says everyone will have the option to kneel during the anthem without consequence … despite a league rule requiring players to stand.
The same goes for anyone who wishes to stand — no one is saying the players HAVE to kneel, either.
So far, Jonathan hasn’t commented on his decision to stand publicly — because the game is currently being played. But, when he does, we’ll update here.
Charles Barkley spoke about the demonstrations on Thursday during TNT’s “Inside The NBA,” saying, “The national anthem means different things to different people.”
“I’m glad these guys are unified. If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.”
The Magic released a statement in support of the demonstration, saying, “The DeVos Family and the Orlando Magic organization fully supports Magic players who have chosen to leverage their professional platform to send a peaceful and powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color.”
“We are proud of the positive impact our players have made and join with them in the belief that sports can bring people together — bridging divides and promoting inclusion, equality, diversity and unity.”
Reggie Bush: Paying college athletes will ‘destroy some people’
College athletes getting paid for their services has been a worthy argument for a long time, but the NCAA finally supports a proposal to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals and receive payment for their work after some of the best basketball recruits in the country have declared for the NBA’s G League instead of attending college.
While being paid for their work certainly is a step in the right direction, former NFL star Reggie Bush doesn’t think it’s such a great idea.
“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” Bush told Playboy, according to ESPN. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place.”
A formal proposal for the new rules is set to be submitted no later than October to the NCAA board, and they will then vote on the proposal sometime before January 2021.
Bush was a two-time All-American running back during his days at USC, and helped the school win back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. He won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player in 2005, but forfeited the award in 2010 after the NCAA found that Bush received money and gifts from sports agents when he wasn’t allowed to do so.
The 35-year-old went on to have a successful NFL career after his collegiate days at USC. He played for the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers before hanging up his cleats in 2017.
It’s weird to think that Bush is against athletes being paid for endorsement deals, especially considering he improperly accepted cash during his collegiate days.
Many college standouts will be able to use the money they earn to take care of their families, and that alone is a terrific reason why paying them is the right thing to do. They perform like professional athletes, earn their colleges and universities massive amounts of money and provide entertainment to fans, so why shouldn’t they be paid?
Victims In Kobe Bryant Crash Have Now All Been Identified
Here’s what is known so far about the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight other people.
Nine people were on board the Sikorsky S76 when something went wrong just before 10 a.m. Sunday.
The passengers were on their way to a basketball game when the chopper went down.
The helicopter’s flight path shows it going from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley and then hovering over the Glendale area as it waited for clearance to travel through the Valley to Calabasas. The tracking ends at the crash site in Calabasas.
Kobe Bryant’s 13-year old daughter Gianna was among those killed. Gianna — often called “Gigi” — was the second oldest of Bryant’s four daughters.
Bryant had coached Gianna’s AAU basketball team out of his Mamba Sports Academy training facility in Thousand Oaks for the past two years.
They were all reportedly headed to an AAU game when the crash happened.
In addition to Bryant and his daughter, three members of one family died in the crash.
John Altobelli was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. His wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa were also on board.
The husband of Christina Mauser posted on Facebook that she died in the helicopter crash. Mauser was a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Kobe’s daughter attended school. Mauser’s husband says he and his kids are devastated.
Sarah Chester and her middle school aged daughter Payton were on also on board the helicopter piloted by Ara Zobayan.