June 21st, 2024

Woods shoots his worst round in a major with 82 at the Masters

By Dave Skretta, The Associated Press on April 13, 2024.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Tiger Woods walked off the third green at Augusta National on Saturday, having just missed a birdie putt he thought he should have made, and began striding up the hill toward the long par-3 fourth hole at the Masters.

Little did he know things were about to get a whole lot worse.

Whatever hope Woods had of staying in contention disappeared, along with his confident swing and mastery of the greens. The five-time champion spent the rest of the day struggling to his worst round at a major championship, a 10-over 82 that left Woods looking not only defeated but will force him to play his 100th round at the Masters on Sunday well out of the spotlight.

“I didn’t have a very good warm-up session, and I kept it going all day today,” said Woods, whose worst round at the Masters had been back-to-back 78s in 2022, the last time his battered and broken body was able to play the full weekend.

Woods said he “just hit the ball in all the places that I know I shouldn’t hit it.”

He started the day 1 over and seven shots off the lead, and feeling like he was capable of making a run at Scottie Scheffler, Bryson DeChambeau and the rest of the leaders. But that was before eight bogeys and two double-bogeys, offset by just a pair of birdies, left the 48-year-old Woods at the bottom of the leaderboard rather than the top.

It was only the fifth round Woods has shot in the 80s as a professional, and only the third in a major. He shot an 80 in the first round of the 2005 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and an 81 in the third round of the 2002 British Open at Muirfield.

His worst round as a pro came in 2015, when he shot an 85 in the third round of the Memorial.

“I haven’t competed and played much,” said Woods, who arrived this week having played just 24 holes of competitive golf this year. “When I had chances to get it flipped around and when I made that (birdie) putt at 5, I promptly three-putted 6 and flub a chip at 7 and just got it going the wrong way, and when I had opportunities to flip it, I didn’t.”

Hard to flip it playing from the trees.

After his tee shot at the seventh bounded through the fairway, Woods dumped his approach in the bunker and made double bogey. At the eighth, he drove it into the trees, punched out and made another double. And to finish off his worst first nine at the Masters, Woods again missed the fairway off the tee, again found a bunker and again walked away with a bogey.

Woods played that four-hole stretch before making the turn in 6 over.

Things didn’t get any better over the next nine.

There was a wayward tee shot at No. 11 – bogey. The missed 6-footer at the 12th – bogey. The drive into the trees at No. 14 – bogey. The chunked chip at the 15th – bogey. The three-putt at the 16th – bogey. And more tree trouble at No. 17 – bogey.

At least playing partner Tyrell Hatton could commiserate. He four-putted the final hole.

“Sure, he didn’t hit it how he wanted to,” Hatton said, “but also like, putts that he had, the greens are so fast out there. You guys, you don’t realize, even a 2 1/2-foot putt is just brutal. They’ve got so much turn. You start a centimetre outside of your start line and it’s going to miss. Then depending on the pace you’ve hit it at, who knows how far away it’s going to finish up.”

The week has been a grind for Woods, who had to play 23 holes Friday after darkness brought an early end to his opening round. Yet he not only persevered through a marathon day, he shot a second-round 72 amid such blustery conditions that the average score was 75.09, allowing him to make the cut for a record 24th consecutive time at the Masters.

Woods had driven the ball well, hitting 22 of 28 fairways through two rounds, and offset some poor approach shots – just 17 of 36 greens in regulation – with an excellent short game. He began the third round in the top 10 in putting this week.

What had been his strength, though, became his downfall Saturday. Woods hit just four of 13 fairways, had a pair of three-putts, and was left trying to get his body back in shape before an early tee time Sunday.

“My team will get me ready,” he said. “It will be a long night and a long warm-up session, but we’ll be ready.”

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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