It was all going fairly smoothly for Tiger Woods on Thursday at the AT&T National. A tough course was feisty, but Tiger was 1-under with five holes to go and hadn't really made a putt of any significance. It was a good position for Tiger, one we had grown accustom to over the years. Start slowly on Thursday, finish under par, and make your move over the next three days.
That was until Tiger approached the par-3 14th. On the front of the green off the tee, Tiger cozied his birdie putt 2-feet short of the hole, an easy par for the man that never misses the short ones. But he did. Bogey. Even par. Not a big deal.
After a par on 15, Tiger was standing 83 yards out on the par-5 16th, with a good look at the pin. That was, until Woods pushed his wedge shot into the right bunker, couldn't get it up and down, and had to settle for bogey on the par-5. One over. Chili's starting to cook.
Then came the 17th. A tough hole all day, Tiger stood on the tee with a 6-iron from 197 yards. He yanked it, yelled at it to go, and eventually would see his Nike ball disappear in the pond. Now Tiger was standing over a drop area, needing an up and down to save bogey. He couldn't covert. Double-bogey. Three over. Don't stand too close to this guy right now.
All could have been saved on the 18th, when Tiger was 102 yards out, and wedged it to 5 feet. Typical closing birdie for Woods, right? Wrong. Par for Tiger, a three-over 73 when it looked like he was going to manage something under par, all in the span of fives holes.
After his round, Tiger looked stunned in his Golf Channel interview, even admitting, "it's just unreal" how quickly things can go south.
For most of Tiger's life, when a putt hit the lip, it dropped. In 2010, if a putt hits the lip, it is going to do anything in its power to avoid disappearing. You win some, you lose some.