Tiger Woods' 3rd-Round Struggles at PGA Championship Stir Debate About Future

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMay 21, 2022

TULSA, OKLAHOMA - MAY 21: Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot from the first tee during the third round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 21, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images )
Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images

A day after Tiger Woods gritted his teeth and fought his way to a one-under 69 to make the cut at the 2022 PGA Championship, his body failed him.

Woods shot a nine-over score of 79 in Saturday's third round, one of his worst-ever scores in a major championship. The 15-time major winner carded seven bogeys against just one birdie and put up an ugly six on the par-three sixth that served as the nadir of his tournament.

Social media was buzzing with concern as Woods clearly struggled to physically make his way through the round.

Paige Spiranac @PaigeSpiranac

It’s hard watching Tiger be in so much pain. The fight he has to get through this round is incredible

Kyle Tucker @KyleTucker_ATH

Tiger +10 through 13 is a hard watch. And this isn’t serving him in any way. Hope he’ll bow out, as much as I hate to say it. <a href="https://t.co/UhIUa52CtL">https://t.co/UhIUa52CtL</a>

Kevin Van Valkenburg @KVanValkenburg

They don't think about their old selves the way we do. They're obsessive about their craft, and they keep obsessing internally even as the skill diminishes. People thought it was sad to watch Jordan struggled. He didn't five a single f---. He liked competing. It's all he knew.

Chris Fedor @ChrisFedor

I have no idea how Tiger is going to compete in the British Open. Cold temperatures are hell on his aching body. So tough for him to get loosened up in the cold. Four straight days like today at Southern Hills? Oh boy.

Woods is playing in his second tournament since coming back from a February 2021 car crash that nearly led to the amputation of his right leg.

Both tournaments have followed a similar script, featuring solid-enough Thursdays and Fridays before his body failed him over the weekend. At the Masters, Woods managed to stay afloat well enough to finish in 47th place.

At the PGA, Woods is currently in a tie for 76th. Sepp Straka is the only player who made the cut who has a lower overall score.

It's been both admirable and difficult to watch Woods try to tough it out and compete at the highest level while still clearly moving in a diminished state. His pure determination is what made him arguably the greatest athlete of his generation. 

That said, it's clear Tiger is going to see this through and push his body to the brink—for better or for worse.