AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods emerged after signing his scorecard and walked over to talk to the media on a sunny Friday at Augusta National that began for him in the darkness. The 48-year-old looked tired following a 23-hole marathon, but he also seemed content. Not only will Woods get to tee it up again on Saturday, but he’ll get to sleep a lot longer.

That’s because Woods didn’t just survive on Friday, he thrived, moving up the leaderboard with a second-round 72 in windy conditions to sit at one-over 145 for the tournament. In the process, he also broke another Masters record by making his 24th consecutive cut, besting the previous mark of 23 shared by Gary Player and Fred Couples.

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But if we’ve learned anything about the 15-time major champ since he started that streak with his landmark 12-shot victory at the 1997 Masters, it’s that he’s never satisfied with making the cut. Just have a look at how Friday’s Q&A began.

Q. I know it’s tough to reflect right after your round, but 24 straight made cuts here at Augusta. What does that mean to you, especially after the quick turnaround between rounds?

TIGER WOODS: It means I have a chance going into the weekend. I’m here. I have a chance to win the golf tournament. I don’t know if they’re all going to finish today, but I’m done. I got my two rounds in. Just need some food and some caffeine, and I’ll be good to go.

Q. How do you assess your position going into the weekend?

TIGER WOODS: I’m right there. I’m only eight back as of right now. I don’t think anyone is going to run off and hide right now, but it’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course today.

Q. What about the physical challenge today? How tough was it?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I’m tired. I’ve been out for a while, competing, grinding. It’s been a long 23 holes, a long day.

But Lance and I really did some good fighting today, and we’ve got a chance.

“I have a chance.” “I’m right there.” “We’ve got a chance.” It was a pep-talk clinic for a man whose ability to win has always been dictated by his will to win. Woods now holds or shares a ridiculous 35 Masters tournament records, but despite being well behind the leaders after 36 holes, he’s focused on matching another mark: Jack Nicklaus’ six green jackets.

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If he is to play himself (more) into contention, he’ll need to hit his irons better. So far Woods has hit less than 50 percent of his greens in regulation. But a sharp short game—particularly impressive considering he’s played only one complete competitive round this year heading into this week—has him at one over par heading into the weekend.

“I was forced to get up-and-down a few times today, and I was able to do that. A lot of those chip shots I was able to get up-and-down because I left it in the perfect spot, and that’s understanding how to play this golf course,” said Woods, who also holds the PGA Tour record for consecutive cuts made with 142 from 1998 to 2005. “Probably the only exception was the spot I put myself in on 14. Most of the up-and-downs I was in a perfect spot.”

But again, making the weekend hasn’t been a problem for Woods, even in recent years. Finishing tournaments? That’s been the bigger issue.

At the 2022 Masters—Woods’ first start following his car accident 14 months before—he was in the top 20 heading into the weekend before a pair of 78s left him in 47th place. Last year, he withdrew during the third round and underwent ankle fusion surgery a week later.

Woods is hoping to write a different ending this year. After recharging Friday night, he’ll get back to work on charging up the leaderboard on Saturday. But first, in regards to his newest record, he has one small piece of business to take care of involving one of his best buddies.

“Yeah,” Woods said when asked a second time if he had any appreciation for the cut mark. “I think I will be able to as soon as I’m done with you guys, text Freddie [Couples] and give him a little needle.”

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