GOLF: Another day, another tough one for Tiger
PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Tiger Woods walked off the 18th hole and past Jason Dufner and Adam Scott, who stood on the putting green still waiting to tee off as the last group of the PGA Championship’s third round.
Woods is usually the one starting his day well into the afternoon on the weekend at a major. But he keeps heading the wrong direction from the leaders at Oak Hill.
The world’s No. 1 golfer shot a 3-over 73 on Saturday, leaving him at 4 over for the tournament. He was tied for 48th, 13 strokes behind leader Jim Furyk.
Woods scuffled from his very first swing. He missed the fairway on No. 1, teeing off just after 11 a.m., almost four hours before Dufner and Scott. He bogeyed that hole and had another at the third.
Even when he straightened out his tee shots for a bit, Woods’ putting failed him. He didn’t make a birdie until this 11th hole, and that would be his only one of the day.
His swing went awry again late in the round, dooming him to bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17.
“I didn’t start off very good, and I didn’t finish very good,” Woods said.
“In the middle part,” he added, “I was grinding just to kind of hang in there around par.”
So the 14-time major champ must wait until April to resume his now more than five-year-old pursuit of No. 15.
Not that Woods would ever concede the chase is getting to him. Asked if he’s pressing, he deadpanned, “Yeah, at times when I’m underneath the trees and I’m in bunkers and trying to get up-and-down.”
He had plenty of experience with both of those predicaments Saturday. Woods hit 5 of 14 fairways and needed 32 putts.
After Friday’s round, he squeezed in some time on the practice range with coach Sean Foley. Didn’t seem to help.
“I just haven’t got my takeaway right; it’s off,” Woods said. “Consequently the whole patterning is off. Just one of those weeks where it’s just a fraction off, and a fraction off on a setup like this, it’s going to cost me.”
Especially when his putting wasn’t rescuing him.
“When I do it right, I hit some sweet shots. And when I do it wrong, I’m struggling,” Woods said. “On top of that, today for some reason I kept blocking every putt. I burned a few edges out there.”
On the par-4 seventh, Woods hit his second shot to within about 10 feet, but his birdie try lipped out, and he could only look away in disgust.
He briefly appeared to be building some momentum after that birdie on No. 11, but his birdie putt on the 12th from about 5 feet slid by the right side of the hole.
Other than sharing a few laughs with playing partner Keegan Bradley as they walked the course, Woods was rarely demonstrative Saturday, after shots good or bad. Despite tying for 39th the last time the PGA was at Oak Hill a decade ago, Woods calls the course “fantastic.”
“Unfortunately I just haven’t put it together at the right time,” he said.
He hasn’t done that at a major in more than five years.