DUBLIN, Ohio – A year after hoisting the trophy at The Memorial Tournament for the fifth time, Tiger Woods finds himself on the opposite end of the spectrum after a surprising 7-over 79 Saturday amid breezy conditions at Muirfield Village.
Starting his round on the 10th hole, Woods made double bogeys at both the 12th and 15th holes before capping a forgettable nine-hole stretch with a triple bogey on No. 18 that included five shots from just short of the green. In all, Woods’ outward nine of 8-over 44 marked the highest nine-hole score of his professional career, and came on a day when the 14-time major champion improbably did not take a single penalty stroke.
“It was a rough day. It was tough out there from beginning to end,” said Woods in a quote sheet provided to the media by a PGA Tour official. “We didn’t hit that many bad shots starting out the day and the next thing you know we are quite a few over par.”
Woods rebounded somewhat on his second nine, notching three birdies during a five-hole stretch from Nos. 1-5. Wayward drives at both the sixth and ninth holes, though, resulted in bogeys, and ultimately Woods came within the slimmest of margins of shooting in the 80s for just the second time in his professional career.
“It’s just one of those things where I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggled out there,” added Woods, whose playing partner Zach Johnson also struggled Saturday, shooting a 9-over 81. “The conditions were tough, and when I missed it cost me.”
The culprit for Saturday’s round was largely Woods’ putter. Though the stat line shows 30 putts and just nine of 18 greens in regulation, on three holes Woods putted from just barely off the green. In total he used the putter 33 times, including five missed birdie opportunities from inside 16 feet. Woods also missed short putts for bogey at both 12 and 15 while three-putting from inside five feet on No. 18.
At 8-over 224, Woods was 70th out of 73 remaining players upon the conclusion of his round.