Curses! Tiger bitten by three-putts Augusta set for Sunday shootout
Advertiser News Services
AUGUSTA, Ga. — For the first 10 holes of yesterday's third round at the Masters, Tiger Woods finally looked like a man who had not competed in a golf tournament in nearly five months.
If that wasn't bad enough, his emotions, something he vowed Monday to try to curb as much as he could, spilled out like they used to before Woods made a mess of his family life.
But the four-time Masters champion used all his steely resolve to deal with the emotional swings from good shots to bad shots and back again, and stayed in touch with the leaders going into today's final round of what has been a riveting, entertaining tournament.
Woods, whose card showed seven birdies, five bogeys, and six pars, finished with a 2-under-par 70 and a 54-hole score of 8-under 208. That put him four strokes behind the leader, Lee Westwood, who picked up two shots on Woods with a 68.
Seeking his 15th career major title, Woods had been solid with his ball-striking for the first two days given that he had not played in a tune-up tournament while dealing with the issues arising from disclosures about his adultery.
But he wasn't as crisp yesterday, and he traced those problems to what he called a "terrible" warm-up on the practice range.
"I didn't have control of the ball when I was warming up," said Woods, who again wore sunglasses between shots to protect his eyes from the heavy pollen that has been in the air all week. "I was fighting it then. The speed on the greens was fine when I was warming up. I got on the golf course and made two quick birdies. But after that, I fought it all day."
As he was spraying his tee shots and irons all over Augusta National, and trying to find a putting stroke, Woods allowed his emotions to get the better of him, particularly early.
The worst example came at the par-3 sixth when Woods failed to get his tee ball over a knoll on the green that would have funneled it to the hole. Instead, the ball rolled back behind the knoll, and Woods exclaimed, "Tiger! You suck." He three-putted the hole for a bogey.
Asked about the outburst, Woods responded, "Did I? If I did, then I'm sorry."
Woods later said it was difficult to control his emotions when you're "three-putting every other hole, yeah. ... It's never easy."
BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE
Y.E. Yang had the best seat in the house for Phil Mickelson's show at the Masters.
Yang was paired with Mickelson yesterday, the fifth straight round they've played together, going back to last weekend in Houston. Mickelson made up four shots on Lee Westwood in just two holes, making an 8-foot eagle putt on the 13th and holing out a wedge on the 14th.
"I've gotten used to him. ... He makes players comfortable," said Yang, the PGA champion. "Fortunately for me today I was in a good area, good seat, to watch him play some incredible golf. So I was in spectator mode today."
It might have inspired Yang a little, too. After a bogey on 12 left him at 3 over for the day, Yang worked his way back to even par, closing the round with a 33-foot birdie putt for a 72, seven shots off the lead.
"The goal is still the same," Yang said, "finish in the top 10."