TULSA, Okla. – Tiger Woods declined to speak reporters after a rough third round at the PGA Championship, and it’s difficult to blame him.
Much like at the Masters last month, Woods was presented with the worst kind of weather possible. While it was difficult for everyone Saturday at the PGA Championship, such cold conditions are especially troublesome for Woods, given his lower back issues and the injuries to his lower right leg.
The result was his worst score ever at the PGA Championship, a 9-over-par 79 that included five straight bogeys – a first for him in a major championship as a pro – as well as a triple-bogey.
As was the case Friday when he made the cut by shooting 69, Woods was in obvious pain as the round ended and when he made it to the scoring area. Asked by a pool reporter if he would play Sunday, Woods did not fully commit.
“Well, I’m sore,’’ he said. “I know that for a fact. We’ll do some work and see how it goes.’’
Circumstances were not in Woods’ favor. After warm, humid temperatures for most of the week, a storm blew through Tulsa early Saturday morning and brought a temperature drop of 30 degrees, with it 56 degrees and misty as he teed off. That means it was nearly 50 degrees different than when Woods won playing in 100-degree temperatures at the 2007 PGA Championship.
And having finished his second round early Friday evening, the turnaround time to get the swelling down in his left and begin the process of getting ready again was reduced. Throw in the cold weather, and his ability to get his surgically repaired back able to cooperate also comes into play.
“Well, it's not bad,’’ he said of the turnaround. “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. 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.’’
He actually did well to avoid shooting in the 80s for just the fifth time as a pro, making his lone birdie at the 15th hole and then making three straight pars – including a 5-footer on the 18th.
Woods worked hard to make the cut on Friday, rebounding from a double-bogey at the 11th hole to make two birdies in his last six holes. Rory McIlroy, who played with Woods the first two rounds, noted that the conditions were difficult enough and Woods was laboring enough for him to consider not playing.
“Look, he’s the ultimate pro,’’ McIlroy said. “Looking at him (Thursday), I wouldn't have – if that would have been me, I would have been considering pulling out and just going home, but Tiger is different and he's proved he's different, and it was just a monumental effort.’’
Woods bogeyed the second hole when his tee shot surprisingly found the water. He then made a triple-bogey 6 at he par-3 sixth, his tee shot coming up at least two clubs short, much to his surprise, and into the water. Starting at the ninth hole, he made five straight bogeys and was 10 over for his round. The birdie at the 15th helped him avoid 80.
Afterward, Woods did sign autographs for the walking scorers in his group, and took a photo with the caddie for his playing partner, Shaun Norris, a South African golfer who played with Woods once prior – during the third round of the British Open at Carnoustie.
“He’s such a phenomenal player and you feel so sorry for him having to go through this,’’ said Norris, who shot 74. “Then again, you see the type of person he is. That he grinds through and he pushes himself through all the pain. It’s not easy to see a guy go through all that and struggle like that.
“But he’s swinging it nicely and I think he’ll be back once he gets back to normal health and sorts out all the problems.’’
Woods has now played seven competitive rounds since the February 2021 car crash, with his best score the 69 on Friday and the worst his 79 on Saturday. He also shot scores of 78-78 on the weekend at the Masters, where he finished 47th.
More PGA Championship Coverage from Morning Read
> Pereira? Zalatoris? Fitzpatrick? This PGA is Anyone's Guess
> Tiger Withdraws from PGA Championship After Third-Round 79
> Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy Shoot Disappointing 74s, Putting PGA Nearly Out of Reach
> In Dreary, Cold Conditions, Webb Simpson Fires Saturday 65
> Jack Nicklaus is Being Sued by the Nicklaus Companies
> ESPN Anchor Sage Steele Thanks Medical Personnel After Accident
> What to Watch in Round 4
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