AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods matched his lowest ever score on the PGA Tour with a sizzling nine-under-par 61 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Friday, but said he had produced several rounds of greater quality.
“Top 10 rounds? I don’t know about that,” the American world number one told reporters after charging a staggering seven shots ahead of the elite field in the second round at Firestone Country Club.
“It’s up there; how about that? Certainly it’s up there, but I don’t know about top 10.”
Woods, who equalled the course record at Firestone which he had previously tied in the second round in 2000, cited his four rounds in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and three more at the 1997 Masters, where he clinched his first major title.
“So we’re at seven (better rounds) right there,” the 14-times major champion beamed broadly. “I felt I was in total control of my game today.
“Obviously things like that don’t happen every day, and it’s fun when it all comes together and I was able to take advantage of it, especially on a golf course like this.
“And the fact that I was able to shoot what I shot today, I’m very proud of that,” added Woods, who carded his fourth career round of 61 on the PGA Tour.
For a while on a damp afternoon at Firestone where huge galleries watched his every move, a magical 59 seemed to be on the cards as Woods got to nine under after 13 holes before running out of steam.
Though he had been bidding to become only the sixth player to dip below 60 on the PGA Tour, five men having previously fired 59s, he was not overly impressed by that target.
“Well, the thing is I’ve shot 59 before,” he said, referring to a 1997 practice match he had with his good friend and one-time mentor Mark O’Meara on the Isleworth course in Florida.
“To do that at the time at my (home) course, you had to be 13 deep (under par) to do it. I was only nine today at that point.”
Woods then related an amusing tale about how much had been riding on that friendly match with O’Meara, a twice former major champion, and what occurred the following day.
“He lost a boatload (of money),” Woods smiled as the interview room erupted in laughter. “And then the very next day there was an even better story.
“I was five-under through nine (holes), and then parred 10 and made a hole in one at 11. He just drove his cart home. He didn’t say a word to me.”
Asked whether he went to play the last seven holes on his own, Woods replied with his trademark flashing smile: No, I didn’t. I came in, as well.
“He didn’t talk to me for a day. Texted him; nothing. Called him; nothing.”