PGA Championship Second Round News & Notes
By Kevin Currie, Senior Golf Editor
Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - The featured afternoon pairing of Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson failed to create a buzz in Friday's second round.
Of the three, only Mickelson made the cut.
The 2005 PGA Champion had a bogey and five pars in his first six holes. He vaulted into contention with three birdies in a 4-hole span from the seventh.
Mickelson birdied the fifth to move to 5-under. However, he gave that shot right back with a bogey on the 15th. Mickelson closed out his round in style as he made eagle at the par-5 18th to jump into a share of seventh at minus-6.
"It was a long day, but for me it was a good day. I fought hard, I didn't get off to the greatest start, was patient with the round. It came to me a little bit there in the middle," Mickelson said. "To shoot 4-under puts me in good position for the weekend."
Meanwhile, Woods was battling a balky back, that he said started to bother him on the range as he warmed up. Woods found sand off the fourth tee and he came up short with his approach.
That led to a bogey that dropped him to plus-4. After needing three shots to reach the sixth green, Woods 3-putted for double-bogey from 18 feet out, and he was basically out of the tournament at that point.
Woods dropped another shot on the seventh, and was struggling with his back at that point. He parred eight and nine, and walked to the 10th. He could have withdrawn then as he walked past his car going from nine to 10.
The four-time PGA Champion continued his par run with five more to start his back nine. Woods made birdie on the 15th for his second birdie of the week. After a bogey on the 16th, his eagle chip at 18 stopped just short of the hole and he tapped in for a closing birdie.
"I need to get stronger. As I said the other day, I need to get my glutes strong again, my abs and my core back to where I used to have them. They are just not quite there yet," admitted Woods. "(My back) was telling me on the range that it probably wasn't a good idea, but I'm not exactly a non-stubborn person."
Harrington started the day at 2-over par and a birdie at the first moved him inside the cut line. However, he stumbled to bogeys at five and six to slide to plus-3.
The three-time major champion got one back with a birdie on the ninth. Harrington wrapped bogeys at 14 and 16 around a birdie on No. 15. He closed with a birdie at the last to miss the cut by one.
RYDER CUP IMPLICATIONS ABOUND FOR U.S. SQUAD
There was going to be plenty of Ryder Cup implications this week anyway, but with Jason Dufner withdrawing from the championship, that made things even more interesting.
With Dustin Johnson missing the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship, Zach Johnson is guaranteed to pass Dufner now that he made the cut at Valhalla. That puts him in eighth place and pushes Dufner to No. 9, which is the final automatic qualifying spot.
Right behind Dufner is Phil Mickelson, who is tied for seventh entering the weekend. With double points this week, Mickelson would likely need a top-15 finish to move ahead of Dufner and gain that last guaranteed spot.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson may be hoping for that since Dufner stated Thursday that he doesn't know when he'll play again. He said it could be at the Ryder Cup, next year or even in 2016. That might be overstating it a little, but Watson needs healthy bodies to choose from.
Regardless of whether Mickelson passes Dufner, the next six players on the points list didn't help themselves this week. Four of them -- Keegan Bradley, Chris Kirk, Webb Simpson and Harris English -- all missed the cut.
Brendon Todd and Ryan Moore, who are 13th and 14th on the points list, enter the weekend at 1-over 143 and 1-under 141, respectively. That doesn't even include Tiger Woods, who is well down the points list and also missed the cut.
Watson needs a few able bodies to step up, soon.
* Second-round leader Rory McIlroy's 66 on Friday matched his low round in 22 rounds at the PGA Championship.
* McIlroy has won his last two starts. If he makes it three in a row this week, he would be the fifth player since 1980 to win three or more straight starts.
* All 20 PGA Club Professionals in the field missed the cut. Ryan Helminen was the closest to making it to the weekend as he finished at 2-over-par 144 after a second-round 71. He missed the cut by one stroke.
* The par-5 18th was the easiest hole in round two as it played to an average of 4.43 strokes. The 18th has been simplest through two rounds as it has averaged 4.53 shots.
* The par-4 sixth was the most difficult hole in round one as players averaged 4.47 strokes on that hole. The par-4 second has been the hardest hole through two days as it averaged 4.43.
08/08 22:29:06 ET