Putts won't drop, but Tiger Woods moves up the board at PGA anyway
ST. LOUIS – Tiger Woods knew the shot used to be excellent. He struck it natural from 240 yards at the 17th hollow and began strutting down the green, staring at the ball land 20 toes from the pin — one excellent putt clear of an eagle that may have vaulted him into 2d position.
And Woods knew the putt used to be unhealthy. He muscled it three toes previous the outlet, then pulled the comebacker off line and, after settling for a disappointing par, he in brief grabbed the putter with each fingers, as though to bend it, sooner than deciding best of it.
That par used to be probably the most disappointing of the 10 instantly Woods made to complete his 3rd spherical Saturday on the PGA Championship. He shot Four-under 66 to succeed in eight beneath. That used to be 4 again of chief Brooks Koepka — neatly inside of putting vary, however not so good as it would’ve been.
“May just’ve been a little bit nearer,” Woods mentioned. “However I have were given a shot going into the next day to come.”
For the 3rd instantly day on the wide-open, squishy Bellerive Nation Membership, Woods hit the ball neatly from tee to inexperienced — he hit 15 vegetables in legislation — and appeared each and every bit the contender he used to be 3 weeks in the past on the British Open, the place the cheers appeared louder and extra heartfelt than they would been prior to now.
It is been a lot the similar this week in St. Louis.
“Listening to the gang, and Tiger’s acting nice, it used to be like turning again the fingers of the clock,” mentioned Stewart Cink, who performed with Woods and in addition shot Four beneath to additionally end 4 out of the lead.
However Tiger’s putter? It introduced extra moans than cheers to the lovers, and extra frustration than pleasure to Woods.
He has now not made a putt of longer than 17 toes over 3 days, and has simplest made 5 putts of greater than 10 toes all week. As Saturday’s spherical wore on, he used to be constantly bobbing up quick because the already cushy vegetables were given even slower; he had six birdie tries of 20 toes or much less over the again 9 and did not make one.
“The vegetables have been getting fuzzy, they are getting sluggish, and I did not hit the putts relatively laborious sufficient,” Woods mentioned. “And I made positive I did on 17. And I blew it by way of about 4 toes after which pulled the following one.”
“The vegetables have been getting fuzzy, they are getting sluggish, and I did not hit the putts relatively laborious sufficient. And I made positive I did on 17. And I blew it by way of about 4 toes after which pulled the following one.”
The misses on 17, mixed with a ignored birdie check out from 15 toes under the outlet on 18, took away the tantalizing prospect of Woods enjoying within the ultimate crew in a significant for the primary time since 2009 (When he misplaced to Y.E. Yang on the PGA.)
But it surely doesn’t suggest he would possibly not have an opportunity to catch Koepka, who were given to 13 beneath sooner than he confirmed glimpses of a fight — making back-to-back bogeys on 14 and 15 to come back again to the sector. Koepka closed with a two-shot lead over Adam Scott, with 3 extra avid gamers at nine beneath isolating Koepka from Woods.
“The golfing route is enjoying cushy, it is gettable, it’s a must to make birdies,” Woods mentioned.
He did simply that over the primary 9 holes, making 5 birdies at the entrance 9 on the best way to a 31 that drew him inside of two of the lead.
What adopted used to be some other bankruptcy in a constant pattern: Woods has performed the entrance 9 in 10-under par this week, however has performed the again at 2 over.
This yr? He ranks 120th in back-nine scoring reasonable at the PGA Excursion, and is tied for 10th over the entrance 9.
On the British Open, he shot 34 over the entrance 9 within the ultimate spherical to in brief get into the lead. He went double bogey-bogey on 11 and 12 to fall out of the lead and completed tied for 6th.
However his enjoy at the again 9 at Bellerive used to be other, partly on account of storms that took him off the route in the course of his 2d spherical Friday and taken him again for a 7 a.m. restart Saturday. In all, the 42-year-old Woods put his surgically repaired again via 29 holes over 10 hours in sizzling, sticky climate. He now not simplest modified shirts this time, he modified colours — from a gray-and-white striped design early within the spherical to royal blue from the 5th hollow on.
“It isn’t essentially the bodily, it is mentally grinding that arduous for 29 holes on this warmth,” he mentioned. “It used to be a protracted day.”
However now not a misplaced day.
After completing tied for 48th after the primary spherical, then tied for 19th after the second one, he’s tied for 6th going into the closing.
Hitting the ball neatly and within the hunt.
Now, if he can simplest get the putter to cooperate.