Woods played solid golf for most of the day, with the only hiccup on the front nine being a three-putt (or two-putt since the ball was off the green) on the par 3 second hole. After that hole, Tiger made four birdies and no bogeys over the next 11 holes, draining some great putts over the stretch.
The turning point of the day came on hole 14, a medium length par 3, where Woods pulled his tee shot into the greenside bunker. Unfortunately for him, the ball buried into the sand and required a difficult shot to get it anywhere near the hole. Tiger was not able to do so and ended up making bogey.
On the next hole, a dogleg-right par 4, Woods hit his tee shot out of bounds to the left, which was strange because he had been hitting his woods off the tee solidly throughout the day. Upon further review, though, one could hear a woman screaming right as he was going through his downswing (someone had fainted), and this caused him to flinch somewhat. Woods almost got away with a bogey after hitting a great approach shot into the green but was not able to capitalize.
Tiger would go on to shoot a third round score of one under par 71 to put himself one shot ahead of Graeme McDowell heading into Sunday; McDowell had a lackluster day on Saturday with a 71, after shooting a 63 on Friday. The next closest competitors are two shots behind Graeme (Ernie Els and Ian Poulter), but I think the winner of the tournament will either be McDowell or Woods.
If I had to choose between the two right now, I would actually go with McDowell. He is playing exactly like he was in 2010 when he won a major, with over 70% driving accuracy and 80% of greens hit in regulation to this point, and after having seen Tiger collapse at the AT&T Pebble Beach earlier in the year, I am sure it will linger on his mind heading into tomorrow.
Ryan Kekoufski is a scratch golfer who has both played and watched the sport for well over a decade. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia.
- Tiger Woods