Golf: Tiger Woods misses cut but draws comfort from improved form at Torrey Pines

Tiger Woods lining up a putt on the ninth hole during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines North on Jan 27, 2017, in San Diego, California.
Tiger Woods lining up a putt on the ninth hole during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines North on Jan 27, 2017, in San Diego, California. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS/AFP) - Shaking off rust was a priority for Tiger Woods in his first PGA Tour event in 17 months and the former world No. 1 was encouraged by his improvement over two rounds, despite missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open on Friday.

While some critics feel that Woods still needs to make technical adjustments to his swing after being sidelined by back pain and spine surgery, the 41-year-old dwelt on the positives after shooting a level-par 72 in the second round at Torrey Pines outside San Diego.

"I hit it much better today," he told reporters after posting a four-over total of 148 to miss the cut by four strokes.

"I made a couple of little tweaks and changes in my swing and my set-up which was good.

"Good communication between (caddie) Joey (LaCava) and I out there while playing, what he's seeing and what I'm feeling. It was good. He's rusty as well. I'm rusty.

"I felt like I made some nice strides, just wish I could be playing at the weekend because I really love this golf course."

Woods has fond memories of Torrey Pines, where he has won the PGA Tour event a record seven times and also the 2008 US Open at the same venue for the last of his 14 Major titles.

However, he faced an uphill task in his bid to make the cut after he had struggled to a four-over 76 in the opening round with a rusty and often erratic display.

All too often, Woods leaked shots out to the right in that first round on the more difficult South Course, paying a steep price for persisting with attempts to draw the ball from right to left.

"He loves to go for that draw and it just wasn't coming back," said six-time Major winner Nick Faldo, an analyst for Golf Channel.

"Yet he hit a couple of great shots in that first round... when he was trying to play a low fade.

"I think that does so many good things to his body, it gets him in the right place, gets him through impact. Otherwise he aims so far left and starts the ball so far right, he is fighting things."

For Woods, the cold, wet conditions at Torrey Pines were also a big concern.

"It's a long process in the mornings, trying to get ready, trying to get warmed up," he said.

"The tall order then is just to stay warm and stay loose... and I did.

"Playing tournament golf is a little bit different from playing with your buddies back home in a cart. I need to get more rounds under my belt."

Woods was not the only high-profile casualty on Friday, with world No. 1 Jason Day and world No. 3 Dustin Johnson also finishing outside the cut line.

Justin Rose rebounded from consecutive bogeys on his back nine in tricky scoring conditions to preserve a one-shot lead. He fired a one-under 71 on the South layout to maintain his bid for an eighth PGA Tour victory. His eight-under total of 136 was one ahead of Canada's Adam Hadwin and American Brandt Snedeker, who won the Farmers Insurance Open last year.