KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — For Tiger Woods, the third round in a major continues to be a puzzle he can't quite figure out.
Tied for the lead when he teed off on Saturday, Woods struggled right out of the gate, recording three bogeys in his first seven holes to fall well off the pace before play was halted due to rain.
With his game unraveling, Woods had a chance to get back on track on the eighth hole when he returned to the course on Sunday morning, but he missed the 8-footer for par to drop his fourth shot in the first eight holes. He managed to pick up three birdies on the back nine to get within four shots of the lead, but a bogey on the par-3 17th left Woods at 2-under for the tournament. His third-round 2-over 74 has him five shots back of the lead.
"I'm right there," said Woods. "I was at one point six back, and we had a lot of holes to play, so I was very encouraged the way I dug down deep and got this thing turned around and gave myself a chance going into this afternoon."
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice that Woods has looked nothing like the guy who, for the first two rounds, grabbed a share of the lead at the PGA Championship. Then again "Weekday Tiger" and "Weekend Tiger" have looked nothing alike this year at major championships.
For the second time this season, Woods held a share of the lead going into the weekend at major -- a position that used to make him a near-lock to win. But for the second time in the last few months, he failed to capitalize on his early week success, missing fairways and greens, and dropping shots with relative ease.
Woods hit only eight fairways and 10 greens during his third round, and recorded 30 putts after needing just 46 putts, including 23 one-putts, during his first two rounds. Dating back to the 2011 PGA Championship, every 54-hole leader has gone on to lose the tournament, so Woods still has an outside shot. However, it's difficult to look past his weekend struggles at the majors and believe he's going to be a factor in the final round.
To get into contention Woods would likely need to post a sub-65 to have a chance Sunday afternoon. With benign weather conditions and a soft course it's certainly possible, but when you haven't recorded a round under par on the weekend at a major since the final round of the 2011 Masters, it's difficult to see how you're going to suddenly flip the switch and post the lowest round of the week.