Masters 2024: Tiger Woods eyes Jack Nicklaus’ six Green Jackets record at Augusta National

April 13, 2024

Video caption,Masters: Best shots of day twoMasters leaderboard, round two-6 Homa (US), Scheffler (US), DeChambeau (US); -4 Hojgaard (Den); -3 Davis (Aus), Morikawa (US); -2 Aberg (Swe)Selected others: -1 Fleetwood (Eng), Willett (Eng); Level Fitzpatrick (Eng); +1 Woods (US); +2 Hatton (Eng); +4 McIlroy (NI), +5 Rahm (Spa)Full leaderboardTiger Woods insisted he can still tie Jack Nicklaus’ record of six Masters wins after making a record 24th consecutive cut at Augusta National.The 15-time major champion is seven shots off the lead at the halfway stage after a level-par 72 left him one over.The 48-year-old’s fellow Americans Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau lead on six under par.”It means I have a chance to win the golf tournament. Anyone who makes the weekend has a chance,” said Woods.”I’m right there.”Woods came from six shots back at the halfway stage to win his fourth Green Jacket in 2005 but that was before he suffered a catalogue of injures that mean his body “aches every day” – although the then 43-year-old shocked many by winning a fifth title in 2019.He has undergone more operations since then, chiefly to repair leg and ankle injuries suffered in a 2021 car crash that left Woods questioning whether he would play professional golf again.Report after two rounds of the 2024 MastersTee times in full for Saturday’s third roundLeaderboard at the halfway stage at AugustaAnd that aching body was evident on Friday when he had to play 23 holes – five to complete his first round after storms shortened Thursday’s opening day, then 18 in the second round.But he battled blustery conditions to keep himself in the hunt for a 16th major and was afforded a standing ovation by the spectators gathered around the 18th green when he finished.He then smiled as he said he would be contacting Fred Couples to “give him a bit of needle” about moving clear of the 1992 Masters winner and three-time champion Gary Player, who both made 23 consecutive Masters cuts.Woods is joint 22nd and will know history is against him, with just one one of the past 28 Masters champions being outside the top 10 at this stage – South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, who was also six back when he went on to win in 2011.At the start of the week, Woods said he was capable of winning “if everything comes together” and so far he has put together two solid rounds of golf. He now needs something spectacular if he is it match Nicklaus.Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jon Rahm are also in need of spectacular weekends but they are also refusing to admit defeat – despite falling 10 and 11 shots respectively off the lead – and talked up their chances of pulling off highly unlikely comeback wins.World number two McIlroy, who carded a five-over 77 to slump to four over, pointed out: “I won from 10 back in Dubai at the start of the year. But obviously the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters are two very different golf tournaments.”We’ll see. Hopefully the conditions are a little better. I still think I can go out and shoot a low one, get back into red numbers, and have half a chance going into Sunday.”Video caption,Woods set for record Masters cut despite sandstormMeanwhile, Spaniard Rahm needed birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to help him extend his run of making 18 consecutive cuts in majors – the longest by an active player. His 76 left him on five over, one shot inside the cut mark.He accepted he would need “a very, very low weekend” to stand any chance.However, he added: “I have made the cut and have two rounds to make up 12 shots. I feel it has been done before – if the conditions aren’t too easy [on Saturday], maybe I can make a push for the win.”[I have to] get as close to par as possible and see how the leaders react. It all depends on them. But it is going to take a lot from me.”Those leaders are world number one and 2022 Masters champion Scheffler and major winner DeChambeau plus the contrasting figure of Homa.Homa is in relatively unfamiliar territory whereas DeChambeau claimed the 2020 US Open and Scheffler came into this week as the hottest favourite since Woods in 2013.Scheffler looked sublime on Thursday, carding a bogey-free 66 to sit one behind overnight leader DeChambeau. Both players showed champion qualities on Friday as the wind gusted up to 45mph at points.After his level-par 72, Scheffler said: “I like where I am on the leaderboard. I feel like my game is in a good spot.”I think the wind is going to be up [on Saturday] but not nearly as much [as Friday]. I’m sure we’ll see a few more birdies but I’ll just stay in my own little world and try and execute.”