Thank God it’s Friday? Tiger Woods may not have thought so given he was facing a prolonged shift at the Augusta office that was longer than his list of injuries, surgeries, comebacks and setbacks.

As for poor old Jordan Spieth? Well, the 2015 Masters champion endured a frightful Friday. It wasn’t Friday the 13th but the horror show Spieth featured in just about required a classification from the Motion Picture Association of America.

Like Woods – more about him shortly – Spieth was one of 27 players who had to return to finish their opening rounds after Thursday’s play was delayed by rain and eventually suspended in the fading light.

On a bright morning, however, the dark clouds swiftly gathered for Spieth as he crashed to a shattering nine at the 15th en route to a seven-over 79. You half expected the klaxon to sound a warning.

It wasn’t the first time that Spieth had experienced such a calamity on the par-five, of course. Back in 2017, he also racked up a quadruple-bogey on a hole known as Fire Thorn. This 550-yarder continued to be a painful thorn in the side for Spieth.

Only five players posted a score higher than Spieth’s when the first round was finally completed. One of them was Brian Harman. The reigning Open champion was making canny progress up the leaderboard at two-under when play was halted on Thursday night.

Onwards and upwards? Not quite. Harman completed his final nine holes yesterday morning in 47 blows as he plummeted down the field with a debris-strewn 81 which included the leaking of seven shots over his last three holes.

When he missed the cut at last year’s Masters, hunting enthusiast Harman let off steam by returning to his Georgia farm and killing a pig and a turkey.

The various beasts of Augusta must’ve been scampering for their lives after news of his nine-over debacle rustled through the wilds and the woods.

But back to Woods. The five-time Masters champion had played only 24 holes of competitive golf this year but had to shoehorn 23 in yesterday as he played catch-up.

Making a record 24th consecutive cut in the opening major of the year was going to be earned the hard way. And, in the end, it was.

It was a fine effort after a spirited level-par 72 left him sitting on a one-over aggregate. He progressed comfortably to the weekend.

With a body that can be as fragile as a tower of shoogling Jenga blocks, the 49-minute turnaround between completing his first round and cracking on with his second was a robust test of the various pins, rods, pulleys and joists that keep the 15-time major winner together.

He may have a fused back and a fused ankle but Woods would light the Augusta fuse as the patrons roared him into the closing 36-holes.

A performance of poise, purpose and stoic endeavour in this happiest of hunting grounds showed that there’s still plenty of golfing life left in this old Tiger yet.  

From winning his first green jacket as a 21-year-old back in 1997 to that miraculous triumph in 2019, this was another momentous twist in the Tiger tale. “I’m tired and I’m hungry and I could use some food and caffeine,” he said with a satisfied gasp after a day of admirable golfing endurance.

“I get the chance to go this weekend. Anybody who makes the cut has a chance and I’m right there. I did miss the cut as an amateur, but as a pro I’ve done well. It’s just an amazing aura that Augusta National has and I’ve been lucky enough coming here since I was 19-years-old.”

With a menacing wind swirling around the towering pines, Woods revelled in the robust Augusta examination.

“This golf course will expose any weaknesses you have,” he added of the unforgiving trial. “The greens are quick right now and this wind is all over the place. It was a great test.”

Woods made up for a couple of early dropped shots in his second round by chipping in for a birdie on the sixth. The topsy-turvy nature of his day continued with a bogey on the seventh and a birdie on the eighth while a scrambling par on the ninth included a wayward excursion into the patrons.

It all calmed down a bit on the back nine and seven pars, one birdie and one bogey made sure that Woods would be around for the final two days.

With overnight leader Bryson DeChambeau cementing his position in the upper reaches with a solid outward half, and world No 1 Scottie Scheffler lurking ominously, Max Homa set the clubhouse lead at six-under.

Playing alongside Woods, the 33-year-old Californian added a one-under 71 to his opening 67. Homa hadn’t broken 70 in four previous appearances at Augusta until his five-under opening round.

“Fairways are better than pine straw,” he chuckled as he got himself on the straight and narrow and continued to plot a path towards success.

Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard, making his maiden appearance in the Masters, bogeyed his last two holes in a 73 but the Augusta debutant was still handily placed on four-under going into the weekend.

It will be a weekend of considerable interest and intrigue. The presence of a certain Tiger Woods will only add to the majesty of the Masters.