Good Day Leaves Tiger Feeling Lousy

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- The steam coming out of Tiger Woods wasn't from the oppressive heat.
 
He banged his hand into a sign as he walked to the scoring trailer Saturday, then grudgingly gave an interview to TNT Sports that began with, ``I'm not real happy right now.'' He blew off a request from host network CBS Sports and didn't cool down until he left Baltusrol after the third round of the PGA Championship.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods had a good run up the leaderboard on Saturday with a 4-under-par 66.
Woods had just shot 66, his best round of the week.
 
It felt like his worst.
 
His goal was to post a low enough number to get him under par for the first time in the tournament, then hope that Phil Mickelson and the guys chasing him wouldn't get too far away.
 
It worked until the end of his third round, when Woods twice put himself in position for a birdie at worst and both times had to settle for par 5s.
 
He again tried to reach the 650-yard 17th hole in two, but his 3-wood was so far left that it went beyond a bunker and settled under a fan's portable chair. He chipped weakly to 35 feet and made par. On the 18th, Woods hammered another tee shot down the middle and hit a towering 7-iron that settled 30 feet behind the hole. He gunned his eagle putt some 12 feet by, then missed that coming back.
 
``It was just a bad putt,'' he said. ``Bad putt at the wrong time.''
 
Woods finished at even-par 210, the first time he's been at par since the opening hole Thursday. But he finished his round some three hours before Mickelson -- eight shots ahead -- teed off.
 
``I thought if I shot 63 today, it would be a pretty good number,'' Woods said. ``It's certainly out there.''
 
It looked as though Woods might get it.
 
Despite a bogey from the bunker on the opening hole, Woods made it through the first seven holes -- among the toughest stretches in golf -- at even par for the day.
 
His round didn't appear to be anything special until the 10th hole. After pulling a 3-wood into the rough and so close to a tree that he couldn't reach the green, Woods' pitch from 40 yards checked up about 6 feet from the hole, banged into the pin and dropped for birdie.
 
He holed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole, and then came what might have been his most important putt. At the 15th, his wedge stopped 5 feet from the cup for a birdie that brought him to even par with two par 5s remaining.
 
But after failing to made birdie on either of them, all he could do was wonder where it would leave him.
 
He got his answer about three hours later when good friend Thomas Bjorn tied the major championship record with a 63 to finish at 5-under 205. Woods has never come back from more than five shots in the final round to win.
 
Still, there was a lot of golf to be played, and he was watching from his rented house 10 miles away.
 
``You don't know,'' Woods said when asked if his chance for a third major this year was gone. ``Guys have come back from 10 back in majors and have won. It all depends on Phil and Jerry (Kelly) and the rest of the guys before him. If they shoot 64 or 65 or 66, then it's pretty far out of reach.''
 
It's rare when someone is upset with a 66, but Woods knew he wasted two chances on the par 5s, and a couple of other holes leading up to that.
 
After an 8-foot par save on the 11th, his tee shot on the 218-yard 12th hole grazed the cup and stopped 6 feet away. His birdie putt went 270 degrees around the cup and spun out. From a fairway bunker on the 13th, he picked it clean and spun it back to 12 feet, but that also grazed the cup.
 
``I had four opportunities out there,'' he said.
 
He never guessed he would miss two of them on the par 5s, especially after perfect tee shots.
 
Woods was between clubs on the 17th, where he had 274 yards to the front of the green. He figured he couldn't carry a 2-iron up the hill, yet a 3-wood was too much with a breeze at his back. The plan was to play a soft cut with the 3-wood, only it didn't cut. He held his left arm out to warn the gallery, sprinted to the right side of the fairway to see where it landed and hit a chip that came up a few feet short of getting enough roll to get to the cup.
 
As for the three-putt on the 18th?
 
``Welcome to golf,'' Woods said. ``I wish we could say we could putt well every day, but it doesn't happen. The only thing you can do is control your speed every day. This week, my speed has been a little bit erratic.''
 
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