Chris Wood (Getty Images)
England’s Chris Wood shot a second round 68 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational to move into a share of second place, and will be rewarded with the chance to play with his golfing hero on Saturday.
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters winner Wood reached six under for the tournament on an impressive debut at Firestone – although World Number One Tiger Woods blazed clear with a brilliant 61 to lead by seven shots.
And Wood is relishing the opportunity to play with one of the game’s all-time greats after the third round pairings were altered to three-balls due to some forecast bad weather on Saturday.
“I've never been out with him [Woods],” said former Silver Medal winner Wood. “He's up here - as high as you can get in my book as far as what he's achieved is just phenomenal. He's been my golfing hero since I was ten, when I started the game, really. To be out with the World Number One, Tiger Woods, is going to take a bit of getting used to, I think.
“It's going to make it a lot harder because obviously you're trying to beat everyone you're out with. He's obviously on his game. I said to my caddie on the range, he was hitting balls next to me this morning he looked really impressive, totally in control. It's going to be a real challenge for me tomorrow.
“I've got to forget about all that sort of thing. As hard as it's going to be, I've just got to try and play my game and enjoy the experience because I never got to meet Seve [Ballesteros], which I would have loved to have done, and to play with Tiger potentially in a final group in a big event is pretty special; I won't forget it.”
Woods, playing in the group ahead of Wood, had threatened to break 60 for much of the afternoon – and the former Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year admits it was hard to stay focused as the excitement around the course grew.
“It was quite noisy out there, and you know when it's Tiger because it's just a slightly louder and slightly different roar,” he added. “Obviously he's had eight, nine or ten big ones today. The score he's putting together out there is pretty amazing today.”