PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Needing a super-low round to give himself a chance at major No. 15, Tiger Woods instead couldn’t even salvage an even-par day.
Far from it.
Add it all up, and it was another forgettable afternoon at Oak Hill for Woods, who has yet to fire a sub-par score here in seven tries. His third-round 73 left him at 4-over 214 – 13 shots behind as the final groups got their third round underway at the PGA Championship.
A slump-busting major title was already a long shot heading into the weekend. His largest deficit at the 36-hole mark in a major was six strokes (2005 Masters), and Woods began the third round here 10 shots behind leader Jason Dufner.
Woods bogeyed two of the first three holes to end all thoughts of a weekend charge, and he limped into the clubhouse with bogeys on 16 and 17. When he finished his round, he was tied for 53rd.
Finishing in that company would be an even worse performance than in 2003, when the PGA was last held at Oak Hill. That year, Woods tied for 39th by shooting 12 over par in what was his worst 72-hole total in a major until he posted 13 over at this year’s U.S. Open at Merion.
“It’s a fantastic golf course,” he said. “Unfortunately I just haven’t put it together at the right time.”
On Saturday, he hit just five fairways and 11 greens while taking 32 putts. He’s made only seven birdies all week.
It’s a stark contrast to last week in Ohio, where he shot 61 in the second round at Firestone en route to a commanding seven-stroke victory. It was his fifth title of the season – three more than any other player on Tour – as his lead in the world rankings swelled. Once again, though, Woods will go oh-fer in the 2013 majors, just as he has since June 2008.
“That’s golf,” Woods said. “We don’t play well every week.”
Not even a post-round emergency session with coach Sean Foley on Friday night could help Woods find his swing. Most troubling is his takeaway, which has thrown “the whole patterning” off, he said.
There would be no extra work on this day. After speaking to the media, he sped through the clubhouse and into the parking lot, where he changed shoes, climbed into a Mercedes SUV and drove away.
“It’s one of those weeks where it’s just a fraction off,” Woods said, “and a fraction off on a setup like this is going to cost me.”