In the third round of the Memorial Tournament Saturday, Tiger Woods had a first. He made history by shooting a 44 on the first nine holes. He ended up with a 79 for the 18 holes, at least 15 strokes back of the leaders.
I’ve watched him play from the beginning, and I have never seen him play worse golf in his entire career than he did for two days on Friday and Saturday.
“It was a rough day,” Woods said to a PGA Tour media official. “It was tough out there from beginning to end.”
Woods has won ‘Jack Nicklaus’ tournament five times. At the present he is in 70th place. He had a triple bogey, two double bogeys, and three bogeys on Saturday. Par fives are usually ‘a piece of cake’ for Woods, but on the par five 15th, he made double bogey.
He played badly throughout all facets of the game. But, for the golfer who has displayed excellence in putting this season, it appeared that the holes were two inches smaller for him, than for everyone else.
His ninth hole Saturday exemplified how poorly his day had gone. It was actually the 18th, Woods, Furyk, and Johnson had started on the back nine. His tee shot found the fairway, but his second, from 166 yards was short, and hit the false front of the green, and rolled back into the fairway. His third shot did the same. Finally he hit a wedge that went past the hole, and ended up with a triple bogey seven on the par four.
The history Woods made today by having his highest score ever for nine holes, is not something he will boast about.
“We didn’t hit that many bad shots starting out the day, and the next thing you know we are quite a few over par,” he said. “It was a tough day. I tried to fight back on the back nine, just didn’t quite materialize.”
The U.S. Open is in two weeks. Tiger Woods has won 14 majors in his 17 year career. He trails only Jack Nicklaus, who has 18. Will this week’s debacle see Woods refocus and be ready in two weeks to return to the form he showed when he won the Players Championship, or will he continue to slide down that ugly slope again?
Woods’ worst 18 hole score as a pro occurred at the 2002 Open Championship, where he shot a third round 81 in horrendous weather conditions while he was attempting to win his third straight major title. He was two shots short of matching a score he never wanted to see repeated on Saturday.
“It’s just one of those things where I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggled out there,” Woods said. “The conditions were tough, when I missed it cost me. I caught the wrong gusts at the wrong time, made a couple bad swings and all in all it just went the wrong way.”
Tiger Woods will continue to make history. I just hope next time it will be towards the positive side of the hardest game in the world.
The Guardian Express