Tiger Woods hasn't had the fist pump going for awhile, but on Saturday at the U.S. Open it was evident at least a couple times on Tiger's back nine.
During his Saturday charge Tiger moved up the leaderboard rapidly. His 31 on the back nine gave him a round of 66 and moved him into sole position of third place.
The only problem for Tiger, Dustin Johnson equaled his 66 and leads the U.S. Open by three shots over Graeme McDowell and five shots over Tiger. Ernie Els and Gregory Havret are six back. Phil Mickleson is in sixth place, seven shots back of Johnson.
The galleries were roaring as Tiger made his Saturday push. The round didn't start out great for the world's top ranked player. A couple of early bogeys made it appear as though he would not be a factor.
But Tiger had it going. He has been claiming all week that this tournament, more so than any other, is a long grind, and is not likely to be won in any one round. However, it can be lost in one round.
As has been well-documented, Tiger Woods has never come from behind on Sunday to win any of his 14 majors. He would have to do that at Pebble Beach to win number 15. But everything with Tiger Woods in now unchartered territory, and there is no reason to believe he couldn't come from behind here.
This Saturday at the U.S. Open was very reminiscent of the Open two years ago down the free way in San Diego at Torrey Pines.
Woods came surging from five shots back to take a one shot lead into Sunday. The difference is, of course, he was able to pull himself into the lead after Saturday two years ago. This year, even with the great round, he is still five shots back.
The 66 Woods and Johnson both carded equaled the 66 fired by Phil Mickelson on Friday as the lowest rounds of the week.
Mickelson, who has five times finished a runner up in this tournament but remains without a win, was in prime position heading into Saturday, but an inconsistent day saw him shoot a 73. Not horrible, and certainly still in contention.
Dustin Johnson will not be easy to catch on Sunday, although no doubt both Woods and Mickelson will think a low round might give them a chance. Johnson knows how to win at Pebble Beach.
He is now the two-time defending champion of the Pebble Beach National Pro Am, played on this course every year in February. He knows the course, and knows what it takes to win it.
At least, he does in February. We'll see about June.
The conditions, not to speak of he pressure, are just a little more difficult.