Tiger Woods isn't hurting, however his sport will want a while

Tiger Woods back in action at Torrey Pines. More

It's been 888 days since Tiger Woods made his last cut, and he had to birdie his final hole today to break the drought.

He was steady, and at times spectacular.

His three birdie putts were from a combined 30 inches.

Woods also rolled in a birdie putt from within two feet at the 10th.

Among Woods' biggest challenges will be the two courses he has to face - the North and South tracks are long, rimmed with tough, thick rough and feature greens that already are on the firm side.

It is the first occasion Woods has made the cut in a regular Tour event after finishing 10th at the 2015 Wyndham Championship in North Carolina.

Toy Finau, who was top of the leaderboard after day one, slipped two places to tie for third at nine-under after 36 holes.

Padraig Harrington began with an excellent run of three birdies in the opening five holes on the south course, but unravelled at the turn with a nightmare seven on the par 5 18th that paved the way for a second consecutive par round when only negative scores made the cut.

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But he needed those three birdies to offset his mistakes, and the sobering part of his return is that Woods didn't make a putt longer than four feet.

Now ranked 205th in the world, Palmer's success this week can be attributed to his ability to hit the fairway (71.4 percent driving accuracy) and get on the greens in regulation (72.2 percent).

His tee shot on No. 1 went way left and his second shot landed in a greenside bunker.

Woods says spinal fusion surgery in April has left him feeling better than he has in years.

Even so, he gave a large, enthusiastic gallery a thrill at the par-three 16th, where his six-iron off the tee tracked the pin all the way, bounced once and settled eight inches from the pin for the tap-in birdie. He shot a 2-over par 38 on the front nine and a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine on the north course. "It was a hard little putt", he said.

While once there was a time he expected to win whenever he put a peg into the ground - he's accumulated 79 PGA Tour titles and 14 majors - Woods is looking to gradually build up his game with each practice round, practice session and PGA Tour event before heading down Magnolia Lane in search of a fifth green jacket. "These guys are all going low and I haven't done that in a long time".

"It's really fun to be the last person that won here and be playing good again and have a chance to go back-to-back, " Rahm said. "I just want to keep progressing, keep playing tournaments".

"Yeah, I had the pulls early, " Woods said. "I'm glad I'm playing at the weekend to get used to my new feels with my fused back". "I was probably a little rusty". "It's one thing to hit shots in practice - you are going to hit them further with the adrenaline going, and I am still learning how much further". "And these are things that I'm going to have to learn, and I need more time under the fire of competition".

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