Going into Friday’s matches at the WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods’s chances of advancing through round-robin play didn’t look great. When he went two down to Patrick Cantlay through eight holes, his chances looked even worse. But if all you saw was Woods on No. 13, massively fist pumping after he hole a wedge shot to go two up, you’d get a far different picture.
At the short par-4 13th, Woods layed back off the tee with an iron, leaving himself 82 yards from the hole. By contrast, it seemed like Cantlay was the one giving himself the eagle try; he pulled driver and took a bold line at the pin, ending up greenside.
You already know what happened next. Woods tossed up a wedge that landed just long and right of the pin and zipped back, trickling perfectly into the side of the cup. As he unleashed a massive fist-pump in celebration, Cantlay could only sit by and watch.
Fans of Woods thought they’d already seen the best shot of his week — and perhaps his entire year — when he’d made a ridiculous up-and-down on Thursday. That iteration of Tiger Magic featured a left-handed, kneeling Woods slashing away at his ball from beneath a bush.
Which shot was better? Feel free to decide for yourself. But there was one important distinction: Despite his Thursday heroics, Woods fell to Brandt Snedeker. Friday, his hole-out was integral to taking down Cantlay in their match. When Aaron Wise took down Snedeker, that meant Woods was assured a trip to the next round.