GAINESVILLE, Va. – After opening with two low rounds and putting himself into contention at his own tournament, Tiger Woods tumbled down the leaderboard Saturday at the Quicken Loans National with a 3-over 74.
On a day when just about everyone on the leaderboard was under par, Woods didn't make his first birdie until the par-4 15th, and he trails the leaders by nine shots going into the final round. He kept his fragile swing together for most of the first two rounds, but it came undone from the very first swing in the third round. When his long slog was over, Woods admitted the problems started even before his round began.
"I was hitting the ball left on the range warming up," Woods said. "Couldn't quite get comfortable. And flipped it on 1 with the left rough off the tee. Made sure I didn't flip it on 2. Hit a drive right. Basically, it was a fight all day. It felt like that hook was coming in and fought through it the best I could."
Woods was able to scramble pars together on his opening seven holes, but he started to fall apart when his second at the par-5 8th sailed long and left. He pitched off a service road over the green and made bogey.
Woods went left again off the tee at the par-3 11th and turned away in disgust as his ball went down into the hazard. The double bogey ended just about any chance of a comeback. He stopped the bleeding with a birdie at 15, and then nearly made an ace at 16.
But on 18, Woods hit another dreadful hook off the tee and took another penalty drop out of the weeds. He saved bogey with an incredible flop shot over the right greenside bunker, and his short game – which was horrendous earlier this season – was about the only positive Woods could take away from Round 3.
"Thank god my short game is back," he said. "It's the best I felt with the putter, and I rolled it so pure."