Tiger Woods Slides Down Leaderboard with 3rd-Round 78 at 2022 Masters

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 9, 2022

Tiger Woods waves after a birdie putt on the second hole during the third round at the Masters golf tournament on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Tiger Woods shot a six-over 78 in the third round of the Masters Tournament on Saturday from Augusta National Golf Club.

Woods made his return to professional golf this weekend after suffering serious right leg injuries in a one-car crash in February 2021. He hadn't made a professional start in 508 days before teeing off Thursday.

Saturday was a struggle at times, as Woods' walk on the golf course appeared to be more strenuous than Thursday and Friday.

Kyle Porter @KylePorterCBS

There's a golfer legitimately using his driver as a cane to walk the field of play at the most prestigious golf tournament in the world, and he's beating almost the entire field. Normal sport. <a href="https://t.co/zXBMw9Xn2s">pic.twitter.com/zXBMw9Xn2s</a>

CBS Sports' Dottie Pepper noted during the televised broadcast that Woods appeared to be "laboring a little more to walk," although she said the "golf part was coming back."

The cold, windy and dreary day in Augusta probably didn't help Woods. Plus, he is also just 15 months removed from his fifth back surgery, which occurred the month prior to the crash.

Per Dan Rapoport of Golf Digest, it was a "microdiscectomy procedure on his back to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching a nerve."

His 2021 season was already on hold because of it, but then Woods didn't even know if he'd walk again after the crash. A leg amputation was also a possibility.

The fact that the 46-year-old Woods is even out there walking the course, making the cut and competing with the best in the world is remarkable enough. Other golf stars didn't make the weekend (e.g., Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau), but Woods made it through and appears ready to finish all four rounds.

As for Woods' third-round performance, it started with a bogey on No. 1 before he orchestrated a birdie on the par-five second. He nearly made eagle out of the greenside bunker before settling for the birdie to move back to one over.

The Masters @TheMasters

How to play hole No. 2, as displayed by Tiger Woods. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/themasters?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#themasters</a> <a href="https://t.co/UnQ2PBvrxl">pic.twitter.com/UnQ2PBvrxl</a>

However, Woods then registered a double bogey on the par-four No. 5 after his second career four-putt in his Masters history:

Justin Ray @JustinRayGolf

Tiger Woods: 2nd career four-putt at The Masters. It was his 1,661st career hole played.<br><br>Other came in the opening round in 2005.

Bogeys on the ninth and 11th holes dropped Woods to five over, but he bounced back with birdies on Nos. 12 and 13.

The Masters @TheMasters

Back-to-back birdies for Tiger Woods on hole Nos. 12 and 13. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/themasters?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#themasters</a> <a href="https://t.co/6F0LDlETfl">pic.twitter.com/6F0LDlETfl</a>

Woods struggled down the stretch, though, with a pair of bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 before a double on the last. He finished the day at six over for the round and seven over for the tournament.

Woods may be out of contention, but the rest of the field minus Scottie Scheffler may also be because of the World No. 1 golfer's dominant performance this weekend.

However, Woods' ability to compete is impressive enough, and he'll look to finish his Masters performance strong on Sunday.