Tiger Woods posted his worst nine-hole score as a professional Saturday on the back nine at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Jack Nicklaus’ supreme test of golf has claimed another victim.
Woods started his round on No. 10 tee, made a double-bogey at the difficult par-3 No. 12, followed by another double-bogey at No. 15. He made bogey on No. 17 and topped it all off with a triple-bogey at No. 18 for an eight-over par 44.
He also made double-bogey on the par-5 No. 15 in the second round on Friday. He is five-over par on that hole alone this week. Don’t let Tiger near a bulldozer.
From 138 yards in the middle of the 18th fairway (his ninth hole) his second shot found the false front and rolled 30 yards back down the fairway. Facing a delicate chip, he again left it short of the crest of the slope and was forced to helplessly watch the ball roll back down and off the green.
His fourth shot went a little over four feet past the hole. He missed the quick downhill putt and failed to convert the return. His three putts added up to a triple-bogey, 7 and a total of 44 strokes.
His previous worst nine-hole round was a 43 in the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship. It was his first tournament back after his self-imposed leave-of-absence from the tour due to marital problems made public at the end of 2009.
He also posted a 43 for nine holes at the 2007 Arnold Palmer Invitational when he found the water on two consecutive holes at Bay Hill.
Seemingly immune to these types of rounds, Woods rarely allows his score to venture too far above even par.
This is exactly the reason that golf is so frustratingly maddening to the average golfer. Golfers can string together a few good shots, maybe even a few good holes before the wheels come completely off and doubles, triples and the dreaded others once again rule the day.
No one is ever truly safe from the whims of the “Golf Gods.” Think of them as the Greek gods of lore simply allowing a Tiger Woods or a Jack Nicklaus the temporary command to dominate the golf kingdom for a brief time. Then just for fun, they decide to reinforce their ultimate supremacy over all things golf and remind even the greatest of them all that no one can beat the “Golf Gods” forever.
Tiger Woods has four wins this year, is ranked No. 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking, and is No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings. He has regained his lofty status as the best golfer in the realm, after a fall from grace that would have defeated most mere mortals.
And lest we forget, he gets to hang out with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.
He is working to get his game in shape to tame famed Merion in two weeks at the U.S. Open. This is a setback, but only reinforces the areas and mental toughness that tournament golf at the highest level demands.
Woods made some very brief comments after his round:
"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. It was a tough day."
Golf is a whimsical game. If the best player in the world can shoot 44 for nine holes, what chance does the average golfer have?
Somewhere, Sergio Garcia is smiling today.