Tiger Woods finds his putting game at PGA Championship

Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the seventh green during the second round of the PGA Championship at...

Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the seventh green during the second round of the PGA Championship at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C., Aug. 10, 2012. (CHRIS KEANE/Reuters)

KEN FIDLIN,QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:13 PM ET

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - After so many false starts, who can really say if Tiger Woods is back, but the round he put together under very difficult conditions in a major championship setting Friday may have been the most definitive sign of all.

Woods fashioned a round of one-under-par 71, just one of five sub-par rounds on the day, but what had him encouraged was the combination of ball-striking and putting that finally merged.

"The thing is, that all year, my strength has been my driving, actually," he said. "People probably don't think so, but the stats, that's what they are. I've been driving the ball well and putting really streaky.

"Finally I've married the two together and it's working out."

Back in his hey-day, one of the things that set Woods apart was his ability to hold rounds together by making clutch par putts. In the first two days of this event, Woods has had 23 one-putt greens. Part of that involves chipping, but mostly it's his putter.

"Last weekend (in Akron) I made, I think, six putts of 20 feet or more, so I've been putting pretty well lately and that just carried over to today," he said.

Woods himself believes his improved play is a result of being in good enough health to put the hours of practice in and also to play a full schedule. For him, that defines being back.

"I've not played a full schedule in a very long time," he said. "I've been told I would never win again, so I'll just play it out and I knew that once I get into the rhythm of playing, playing tournaments and being able to practice and work on the things that Sean (Foley, his coach) wants me to work on, things will get better, and they have."

How much better? Major-championship better? We may get the answer to that one this weekend.

"I've been here before, in this position many times in my career," he said.


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