Highlights (and lowlights) from Tiger Woods’ 3-over 75 in Round 3


Tiger Woods showed Saturday that not playing competitive golf for 10 months will eventually prove to be an issue in the first event back.

The 41-year-old posted a 3-over 75 on (an admittedly more windy and difficult) Saturday at Albany Golf Club to fall from contention at the Hero World Challenge. A day after moving into the outright lead mid-round, Woods is 10 off the lead of Charley Hoffman. It was a rough round that included plenty of errant shots, poor decisions and a lot of bogeys. Only a late pair of birdies gave him even a 75.

We don’t want to overreact to this round long-term, especially as Woods showed great fight late, but Saturday was a reminder that the 14-time major champion does have a long way to go in his comeback. It doesn’t all return overnight.

Anyway, here are the full highlights (well, there are a good deal of lowlights) of how Woods’ third round unfolded:

• • •

Tiger starts with sloppy bogey at No. 1

Unlike the first two rounds, Woods missed the fairway on his opening tee ball. It put him out of position and he couldn’t recover. This led to a missed green, his chip went 10 feet by and he missed the remaining putt. A poor start all around.

Tiger bogeys par-5 third to really begin slide

After responding with a simple par at the second, Woods brought back a troubling Day 1 trend … the par-5 bogey. This was despite him finding the fairway off the tee Saturday at the par-5 third.

Woods airmailed the green on his second, came up short of the green from a tough chipping area over the surface, chipped another time to 3 feet and then pushed the putt. This was a bad bogey and a really telling sign of Woods’ discomfort and what was to come.

Tiger makes back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 6 and 7 to see round fall apart

If you thought 2 over through three holes was bad … Woods made sure his third round would be a disappointment with this following stretch. Frankly, Woods was still out of sorts and did well to par Nos. 4 and 5 to stop the bleeding.

But he couldn’t hang on forever. Woods played the par-5 sixth with extreme sloppiness, missing on his drive and lay up, going long on his third shot and chip and missing a 20-footer for par. It was a second par-5 bogey in four holes. He compounded that error by once again having a short-game shot finish short of the green after nearly driving the par-4 seventh. He failed on yet another mid-range par putt and his round was officially in free fall as he fell to 4 over through seven.

Tiger bogeys No. 10 to fall even further

He actually made a 15-footer for par at No. 8 to avoid a bigger slide, but that bogey to drop to 5 over arrived two holes later.

After a perfect drive, Woods came up short and left and then couldn’t save par from inside 10 feet. It was clear at this point a redemptive back nine was not coming.

Tiger makes key par save at No. 11 to stop round from totally spiraling

His round was possibly heading toward trying to break 80 when Woods saw his drive at the par-5 11th flail right into the bushes. He did find the ball, though, and he eventually faced an 8-footer for par. Woods buried that to avoid going 6 over for the round. For all the bad that occurred Saturday, this second save in four holes proved that his ability to grind is nowhere near gone.

Tiger finally makes first birdie of day at No. 14

It took several holes for Woods to wake up. He came on far too late to earn himself a good round, but Woods at least made a late run Saturday to salvage a bad one.

His first birdie of the day was textbook. Woods nearly drove this par-4 14th green, chipped up from the short side 10 feet past and drained the right-to-lefter. He even had some fun after that one dropped.

Tiger makes another late birdie, this time at No. 17

The one impressive thing from Saturday was Woods’ ability to turn his game around amidst a free fall. He was staring 6 over through 11 in the face and could do little right, then he flipped a switch. Woods played marvelously over his final seven holes, hitting every green and finding a number of good birdie opportunities.

The last one he dropped was at the par-3 17th. Here was the beautiful tee shot and putt that did it.

Tiger nearly finishes birdie-birdie, settles for 75

Woods almost got in at 74. But even 75 was a semi-miracle considering where he stood early in the back nine. This was a textbook simple par, although a closing birdie would’ve felt oh so sweet.

It was mostly lowlights on the day, but the wind made this a tougher day for everyone. A 68 or 69 from Woods Saturday would’ve been significantly better than either of those scores in calmer conditions in the first two rounds (in fact, he’d be alone in second if he posted either of those scores in Round 3).

Also, Woods did sprinkle in a few moments late to make sure Saturday didn’t mark a complete implosion. He probably won’t win, but Woods is only five back of second place entering Sunday.

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