TULSA, Okla. — A bruised sky, chilly temps and soft ground the result of overnight storms greeted Tiger Woods when he arrived at Southern Hills Country Club for Saturday’s third round of the 104th PGA Championship.
Then things got worse.
Already in pain before he began his warmup, Woods experienced one of the most dire days he’s ever spent on a golf course as he signed for a 9-over 79. That’s 10 strokes higher than his second-round 69 Friday when he grinded his way to the weekend despite aching from the first tee through the 18 th green.
One of the few things on the bright side of matters for Woods was breaking 80. Woods needed to play his final five holes in 1 under and with a birdie on the 15 th and four pars, the last coming on a knee-knocker 5-footer on the 18 th, the 79 looked a lot better than an 80 in Woods’ eyes. Still, it was the four-time Wanamaker Trophy winner’s highest score in a PGA by two strokes.
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Most everything else, however, was miserable. For the first time in a major championship as a pro, Woods made five consecutive bogeys or worse. He made a triple-bogey 6 on the downhill par-3 sixth. He hit two balls into the water. He hit just six fairways and six greens in regulation on a day the thermometer never hit 60 and it really felt like it didn’t hit 50.
And his right foot, ankle and leg — severely damaged 15 months ago in a single-car rollover accident that nearly took his life and had doctors discussing amputation of the right leg — never felt good.
While Woods has a high tolerance for pain, he will get extended treatment and decide whether to play the final round or not.
“Well, I’m sore,” Woods said. “I know that is for a fact. We’ll do some work and see how it goes.”
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As for how it went on the golf course, Woods didn’t mince words.
“I just didn’t play well. I didn’t hit the ball very well and got off to not the start I needed to get off to,” he said. “I thought I hit a good tee shot down 2 and ended up in the water, and just never really got any kind of momentum on my side.”
His worst stretch began at the sixth and didn’t stop until he left the 13 th green. In eight holes, he made one par – and six bogeys and a triple.
“Well, I couldn’t get off the bogey (or other) train there,” Woods said. “I didn’t do anything right. I didn’t hit many good shots.
“Consequently I ended up with a pretty high score.”
But not his highest in a major. That still remains at 81, which he shot in the third round of the 2002 Open at Muirfield. He also shot 80 in the opening round of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
While Woods has said many times that his future holds but a few select tournaments a year, and that he loves to compete, Saturday may have him reevaluating his desire to play the final round.
Presently tied for last, Woods would tee off around 7 a.m. local time. While it will be slightly warmer, taking the cautionary route may be a wise decision, especially given how sore his right foot, ankle and leg have felt since he first stepped down in Tulsa on Sunday.