Phil Mickelson struggles at the PGA Championship

A news conference moderator reminded reporters Friday evening that Tiger Woods is the “36-hole leader” of the PGA Championship.

OK, it only feels like the tournament is already over.

At seven-under-par 137, Woods leads the field by four shots -- but it feels more like 40.

Even Padraig Harrington, probably the biggest threat to Woods’ coronation, seems resigned to fighting for second.


“If Tiger plays the golf he’s capable of over the weekend,” Harrington said, “then he will be the winner.”

Woods started his second round with a bogey and ended with one to finish a two-under 70. In between he all but mastered the difficult conditions at Hazeltine National, where wind gusts threw shots -- and putts -- off line and the greens dried out in record time.

“It was a different golf course today,” said Minnesota native Tom Lehman, who is tied for 38th at two over. “That’s the thing about Hazeltine I’ve always noticed -- how quickly it can go from being somewhat soft to as hard as a rock. The greens were a little bumpy and quite fast.”

Woods didn’t crack many smiles Friday, but he did grin after calling the greens “a little bouncy” -- apparently a major understatement.


Mostly, Woods was deadly serious. It’s his last chance to win a major in 2009, which would be his 15th overall, and he has no plans to ease up.

Woods was not impressed to learn that he has won his last 12 PGA Tour events when he has had a lead after two rounds. For the record, he’s also eight for eight in majors after a 36-hole lead.

“Just because I’m 12 for 12 doesn’t mean anything tomorrow,” he said. “You have to play. Those things I did 12 times doesn’t do a bit of good tomorrow.”

Woods will be paired with three-time major winner Vijay Singh, who shot an even-par 72 to go with his opening-round 69. Singh is among five players at three under, including 2008 PGA champion Harrington and 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover.

Singh, a two-time PGA champion, is ranked 12th in the world, but his best 2009 finish is a tie for sixth at Colonial.

Singh, 46, said he has drawn inspiration from Tom Watson’s British Open run. “If he can compete at 59, I think I’ll be able to do it in my 50s,” Singh said.

Woods certainly respects what Singh has accomplished -- and what he still might.

“I know Vijay won’t make a lot of mistakes,” he said. “He has won a bunch of tournaments in his 40s. He’s going to be very consistent. And it’s going to be a lot of fun for us tomorrow.”


Woods derived his most pleasure Friday from watching Harrington pull off a remarkable shot on the 640-yard 15th hole.

Harrington was 301 yards from the upslope of a fairway bunker, so he simply nuked a three-wood that bounced over a green-side bunker and through the rough, settling about 16 feet from the cup. His eagle putt lipped out.

“Tiger actually told me he would have paid to have seen [that shot],” Harrington said. “So I asked him for $50.”

Woods made his run on the back nine with birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 16. He drove it 30 feet past the hole on the 299-yard 14th, got up-and-down from the back rough on 15 and drained a 20-footer on 16 that elicited a few nods from Woods.

Yes, you get the feeling he knows it’s over. Not that he ever would admit it or let it affect his play.

“It’s a tough golf course,” Lehman said. “It doesn’t take much to get a round overboard. Even the best players in the world can have a hiccup now and then. It’s up to everybody else to put themselves in a position to take advantage of it if [Woods] has one.”






Second-round scores and today’s tee times for the PGA Championship. Par 72:

*--* LEADERS 1st 2nd Today Par Tiger Woods 67 70 11:40 a.m. -7 Vijay Singh 69 72 11:40 a.m. -3 Brendan Jones 71 70 11:31 a.m. -3 Lucas Glover 71 70 11:31 a.m. -3 Ross Fisher 73 68 11:22 a.m. -3 P. Harrington 68 73 11:22 a.m. -3 Ian Poulter 72 70 11:13 a.m. -2 Lee Westwood 70 72 11:13 a.m. -2 Ernie Els 75 68 11:04 a.m. -1 Soren Kjeldsen 70 73 11:04 a.m. -1 Y.E. Yang 73 70 10:55 a.m. -1 Martin Kaymer 73 70 10:55 a.m. -1 John Merrick 72 72 10:46 a.m. E *--*

*--* LEADERS 1st 2nd Today Par Grant Sturgeon 73 71 10:46 a.m. E Geoff Ogilvy 71 73 10:37 a.m. E Tim Clark 76 68 10:37 a.m. E David Toms 69 75 10:28 a.m. E Corey Pavin 73 71 10:28 a.m. E John Mallinger 73 71 10:19 a.m. E Rory McIlroy 71 73 10:19 a.m. E Robert Allenby 69 75 10:01 a.m. E Kenny Perry 74 70 9:52 a.m. E Henrik Stenson 73 71 10:01 a.m. E Rory Sabbatini 74 70 9:52 a.m. E Hunter Mahan 69 75 9:43 a.m. E *--*

* Complete scores and tee times, C8.

*--* OTHERS 1st 2nd Today Par Angel Cabrera 76 70 8:31 a.m. +2 Stewart Cink 73 73 8:31 a.m. +2 Anthony Kim 73 74 7:37 a.m. +3 Phil Mickelson 74 74 6:34 a.m. +4 Retief Goosen 77 71 6:16 a.m. +4 Jim Furyk 73 75 5:49 a.m. +4 Fred Couples 74 74 5:49 a.m. +4 Davis Love III 76 73 MC +5 Sergio Garcia 71 78 MC +5 C. Montgomerie 75 78 MC +9 Paul Azinger 74 80 MC +10 Mike Weir 74 81 MC +11 Adam Scott 82 79 MC +17 *--*