DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods insists his surgically repaired left knee is fine.
It’s the right ankle that was problematic for the world’s No. 1 player on Friday.
Woods seemed to be rubbing his right leg often during the second round of the CA Championship at Doral, and said afterward that his only physical problem was that his “right ankle is a little sore.”
He didn’t appear too concerned about the issue, even interrupting his own answer to break into laughter.
“It’s just stiff. I haven’t walked in a while,” Woods said after a second-round 70 which left him at 3 under, 10 shots behind leader Phil Mickelson. “It’s just different. Dude, I tell you what, I need that cart.”
This week marks Woods’ first stroke-play event since winning the U.S. Open last summer. He had surgery shortly after winning his 14th major championship and missed about eight months before returning at the Accenture Match Play Championship last month.
Most of his practice leading up to Match Play came with the aid of a cart.
PERRY’S DAY: Kenny Perry made eight birdies and no bogeys on Friday, a sizzling performance that shot him up the CA Championship leaderboard.
It didn’t surprise him. After all, he’s played well at Doral before.
“Last time I played well here,” Perry said, “I played with Jack Nicklaus on Saturday.”
He’s exaggerating a tiny bit.
Oh, sure, the gist of his claim rings true. The first time Perry shot 64 at Doral was 1991, when he slept on the 36-hole lead and got paired with Nicklaus for the third round. Perry shot 75-77 on the weekend that year, and really hasn’t been close to winning at Doral since.
He had a final-round 64 at Doral in 2003, finishing fifth in the event where Scott Hoch beat Jim Furyk in a Monday morning playoff.
The 48-year-old Perry is at 10-under 134 through two rounds this week, three shots behind Phil Mickelson and one behind Nick Watney.
“It’s been a continuation of my three wins last year and then the win early this year,” said Perry, who won at the FBR Open earlier this season. “Normally my game only hangs in there one or two weeks, and then I disappear, you know, for a month or two. So I’ve been able to hold it together for six months now. It’s been fun doing that.”
STENSON STAYS DRESSED: Henrik Stenson stayed out of the mud Friday, and stayed dressed for the entire round as well.
Stenson’s striptease on Thursday, when he hit into the mud at the third hole and removed everything but his boxers and golf glove to play from the muck, is still getting plenty of attention at Doral.
“I’m happy I amused somebody with it,” Stenson said.
He hit 3-wood off the third tee again Friday, kept it in the grass, and made par on his way to a 73.
WATNEY’S CHARGE: Nick Watney never broke 70 in either of his first two trips to Doral as a pro.
He’s making it look easy this time.
Watney followed up his opening-round 66 with a 67 on Friday, getting to 11 under and sitting alone in second place, two shots behind Phil Mickelson.
“Obviously, I’m very pleased with the way I’m playing,” Watney said.
He’s been bogey-free through the first 36 holes, the only player in the field to pull off that feat.
Watney is off to the best start of his career. He’s in the CA Championship field through FedEx Cup points; he’s fifth in those standings, largely from winning the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines last month.
Even so, it could be viewed as a mild surprise to see him playing so well this week. Watney missed the cut in 2006 at Doral, when the event was the Ford Championship. The previous year, he tied for 64th, winning $11,275.
First prize this week is $1.4 million.
MOVING UP, MOVING DOWN: The CA Championship leaderboard had a different look Friday.
Not at the very top, of course, where Phil Mickelson – who shared the lead after Round 1 – took the outright lead at the midway point by two shots over Nick Watney.
But there was plenty of big moves – in both directions.
Start with Kenny Perry, who moved up 24 spots into a tie for third after a 64. And he wasn’t even the big mover of the second round at Doral.
That distinction went to Alvaro Quiros, who matched Perry’s 64 for the day’s best round and moved up 46 spots into a tie for eighth. Other big movers – in the right direction – were Thomas Aiken (66, up 42 spots to T-26), Paul Casey (66, up 25 spots to T-15) and Martin Kaymer (68, up 25 spots to T-35).
And then there were those headed the wrong way.
Retief Goosen was tied for the lead after Round 1; he shot 76 on Friday to fall 34 spots. Boo Weekley (75) dropped 41 places into a tie for 58th, and Richard Sterne fell 40 spots into a tie for 67th after shooting 75. Rory Sabbatini (74, down 35 spots to T-52) and Adam Scott (76, down 32 spots to T-72) also took big hits.
HERE AND THERE: Adam Scott got a new driver for Friday’s round, after hearing a rattle in the brand-new club he had on Thursday. It wasn’t a great start with the replacement club; Scott missed six of seven fairways in his opening nine holes, some of them badly, and shot 6-over 42 before making the turn. He rallied slightly and finished with a 76. … For the third straight day, the Miami Heat had representation in the group following Tiger Woods. It was former Heat guard Penny Hardaway on Wednesday, current guard Chris Quinn on Thursday and recently retired center Alonzo Mourning on Friday.