Tiger Woods entered Saturday's third round at Oak Hill Country Club facing an uphill battle as an even-par 70 on Friday left him 10 shots behind leader Jason Dufner. Woods needed to mirror or better the 63 that Dufner shot on Friday to get in contention, but that simply didn't happen.
According to Bob Harig of ESPN, Woods has never overcome a deficit of greater than six strokes after 36 holes at a major, and there is little doubt that the stat will continue to ring true once the 2013 PGA Championship comes to an end.
Woods shot a three-over 73 on Saturday, which was his worst score of the tournament as he managed a 71 in the first round, followed by a 70 on Friday. That puts Woods at three-over for the tournament, which was 13 shots behind the leader before he teed off. Even if the leaders come back to the pack a little bit, Woods doesn't stand a chance.
As bad as Tiger's three-over showing looks on paper, he had plenty of chances to have a solid round. Woods' approach shots were not pinpoint accurate like they were at the Bridgestone Invitational, and he simply didn't have it on the greens as he couldn't make a putt outside 10 feet.
Although Tiger's tournament is pretty much ruined at this point, here is a breakdown of what went right and what went wrong during Woods' frustrating third round at Oak Hill.
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Shaky Start to Third Round
It seemed as though everyone except Tiger was part of the birdie bonanza on Friday, so Woods entered the third round knowing that a hot start was paramount. Despite that, Tiger was unable to find his footing early as he bogeyed the first hole:
Woods was able to recover with a par on the second hole, but things went south once again on the par-three third. After his tee shot missed the green and his chip ran well past the hole, Tiger badly missed a par putt:
That put Woods at two-over for the day and three-over for the tournament, which was 12 off Dufner's lead. According to the PGA Championship on Twitter, Woods said that he would have to shoot in the mid-to-low 60's on Saturday in order to be competitive on Sunday, but he essentially killed his chances of doing so just three holes in.
Woods Goes on Long Par Streak
Tiger was able to avert disaster for the next several holes, but he needed to do a lot more than that in order to get back on track. Woods dug himself a very deep hole by bogeying two of the first three holes, so a seven-hole par streak did very little for him.
Woods' biggest issue in the third round and over the course of the entire tournament was his penchant for missing fairways. Dufner and a host of others proved on Friday that the course plays easy from the fairway, but Tiger rarely put himself in position to find that out.
Many players, including Woods, used their drivers sparingly, but Tiger decided to bust it out on the par-five fourth. Woods clearly had no feel for the club, though, as his drive went wayward into the gallery.
Despite that poor shot, Woods had a look at birdie. It went begging, and Tiger had to settle for par. Woods gave himself several intermediate-to-long looks at birdie on Saturday, but he struggled mightily to read both the speed and break all day long.
Woods finally hit his first fairway of the day on the par-four No. 5, but it ultimately didn't help him gain any ground as he missed yet another birdie attempt.
Fans at Oak Hill that were following Woods all day long had to feel as though they were experiencing deja vu on several occasions. Woods missed yet another mid-range birdie putt on the sixth hole as he failed to stick his approach shots close to the pin.
It was the same story for Woods on the eighth and ninth holes as well. He had birdie tries on both holes, but he couldn't get either to fall. Tiger was then up to his old tricks on the ninth hole as his tee shot was terribly inaccurate.
Woods still managed to save par on the ninth hole, and he followed that up with his seventh consecutive par on the 10th hole as seen in this GIF:
Tiger had his best chance to make birdie on the 10th hole as he left his approach about 10 feet short of the hole, but he was once again unable to cash in. This GIF courtesy of CBS Sports Eye on Golf summed up the frustration that Woods was feeling.
Tiger Finally Breaks Through with Birdie
It took 11 holes, but Tiger was finally able to get a stroke back on the par-three 11th. Woods' tee shot mirrored many of his approaches on the day as he put it within 15 feet, but this time he was able to finish the job for birdie.
Not only was it Woods' first birdie of the third round, but it was just his seventh birdie of the tournament, which is an amazing statistic considering that fact that Dufner was able to shoot seven-under par on Friday alone.
Woods seemed to be somewhat energized by the birdie make, but he was unable to capitalize on the momentum. Tiger once again fell into a par funk as he couldn't connect on the types of putts that he generally makes when he is on his game.
Tiger had a fairly easy birdie try on the 12th hole by his standards, but he missed it well to the right.
After yet another par on the 13th, Woods went to his driver for the second time all day on the par-four 14th. Tiger's driver accuracy continued to suffer as he hit it well left into the trees.
Woods was able to save par thanks to an excellent chip. However, the 14th is a hole that has played easily over the course of the tournament, so Tiger squandered yet another opportunity in all reality.
Wheels Fall Off Down the Stretch
After a fourth straight par on the 15th, Woods finally succumbed to what he was flirting with all day. Tiger had his fair share of chances to put up a low number, but his putter was nowhere near as good as it was when he won the Bridgestone Invitational with ease last week. It was only a matter of time before Woods' pars turned into bogeys, and that is precisely what happened on the 16th.
Woods was a mess on the 16th hole as he found the rough as well as the bunker. Tiger is known as a great sand player, but that wasn't the case on this day as he ran his bunker shot well past the hole. Woods had a long putt to save par, but he narrowly missed to drop to three-over for the tournament.
Despite his previous struggles, Woods once again went to the driver on the par-four 17th. Tiger's trust in his driver was misplaced as he missed wildly yet again and was forced to settle for his second consecutive bogey.
Woods very well could have bogeyed out on the 18th, but a strong pitch and putt combination allowed him to end the day with a par. Woods ended up three-over on the day and four-over for the tournament. Looking at his third-round statistics, it is fairly easy to understand why.
Jason Sobel put Woods' showing into perspective quite well as Tiger is once again destined to fall short at a major. Tiger hasn't won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open, which means that the 2013 PGA Championship marks his 18th straight major without a win.
Coincidentally, Woods is chasing Jack Nicklaus' major record of 18. Tiger is still stuck on 14, and if his performance on Saturday is any indication, he could very much be in danger of failing to match or surpass The Golden Bear.
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