HOYLAKE, England – Tiger Woods used to own weekends at major championships. Now they seem to own him. That trend continued Saturday at Royal Liverpool as he made triple and double bogeys while shooting 73 in conditions conducive to low scoring.
Woods hasn’t shot in the 60s on a major weekend since his closing 67 at the 2011 Masters. He has averaged 72.6 in his 17 major weekend rounds since then.
This time, he hasn’t found his groove while coming back from March 31 microdiscectomy. He was rusty in missing the cut by four strokes three weeks ago at Quicken Loans National. He has been inconsistent here at the Open Championship in shooting 3-over-par 69-77-73 — 219. He looked like a dangerous contender on opening day but finds himself 19 strokes behind leader Rory McIlroy after 54 holes.
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“I’m starting to get the flow of the round, the flow of playing again,” said the 38-year-old Woods, who won 14 major titles through June 2008, including the 2006 Open here. “But still I’ve just made too many mistakes. You can’t run up high scores like that and expect to contend, especially when the conditions are this benign.”
Woods has made a triple and double bogey in each of his last two rounds. Starting on No. 10 on a rainy Saturday that featured an unusual two-tee start because of a bad weather forecast, Woods began birdie-birdie and was 3 under going to his 11th hole (No. 2) while playing on rain-softened turf and in calm air.
But he drove into a pot bunker on the 454-yard second, blasted to the fairway, spun a wedge shot off the front of the green, lag-putted to 4 feet and missed. That hole has caused him problems. He bogeyed it the first two days and played it in 1-over when winning here eight years ago.
He tripled the 480-yard seventh after hitting iron off the tee into a gorse bush on the right. The search party found several balls in and around the bush, but none were his. Hence he went back to the tee, as he did after driving out of bounds while making triple bogey at 17 the day before. As with that Friday scenario, Woods again found the left rough with his re-teed drive. He hacked out, reached the green in five and two-putted from 40 feet.
Woods did make five birdies, compared with only a closing one in the second round, but he couldn’t overcome the blowup holes.
“Made a lot of mistakes,” he said in a brief Q&A session. “I’ve made two doubles and two triples. But on top of that I missed a lot of shots for opportunities for birdies.”