AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fighting surprisingly frigid temperates and an even colder putter, Tiger Woods opened his Masters weekend with a six-over 78, putting him well off the lead with one day remaining at Augusta National.
Entering Saturday, Woods and the rest of the field already had their work cut out for them. Scottie Scheffler opened the day with a five-stroke lead over second place and was nine ahead of Woods. Scheffler didn’t let up much. He shot a one-under 71, is nine under overall and three clear of Cameron Smith in second place.
Woods, who opened with rounds of 71 and 74, is seven over for the tournament and tied for 41st. He hit 11 fairways and 11 greens in his third round but struggled with 36 putts — and to get his back loose as temperatures hovered around 50 degrees.
“It’s just been blustery all day. You add in the temperature difference, it was cold starting out. The ball wasn’t going very far. I thought it was tough. Some of the other guys may not say that, but for me I had a tough time,” Woods said. “I felt like I didn’t really hit it that bad, but I had four three-putts and a four-putt. I mean, it’s just like I hit a thousand putts out there on the greens today.
“I did what I needed to do ball striking-wise, but I did absolutely the exact opposite on the greens.”
He three-putted the 1st hole for bogey and birdied the par-5 2nd. Woods still seemed like he had a chance to make a run at the front page of the leaderboard if he got hot, but a four-putt double bogey on the 5th derailed him early. He found the green in two but faced 65 feet for his birdie try on one of the most difficult greens on the course. He left himself six feet for par but burned the left edge and lipped-out the comebacker.
The five-time Masters winner added bogeys on 9 and 11 when he three-putted from off the green both times, although those aren’t technically tallied as three-putts.
Birdies on 12 and 13 were followed by three-putt bogeys on 16 (from 50 feet) and 17 (from 65 feet).
“I just could not get a feel for getting comfortable with the ball. Posture, feel, my right hand, my release, I just couldn’t find it,” Woods said. “Trying different things, trying to find it, trying to get something, taking practice strokes and just trying to feel the swing and the putter head, trying to get anything, and nothing seemed to work.”
On 18, Woods finished with a messy 6. He hit the fairway but blasted his approach into the gallery from 184 yards out. After chipping on, he three-putted — lipping out once again on his bogey try — for a double-bogey finish.
On Sunday, Woods will put a bow on his first competitive tournament since the 2020 Masters, just 14 months removed from a near-fatal car accident.