‘He’s just looking to get the rust off’: Woods plods to one-under 71 in Round 3 at Farmers Insurance Open

January 26, 2019

Tiger Woods isn’t going to win this edition of the Farmers Insurance Open, but his 2019 debut has had its moments. On Thursday he was solid, if unspectacular, on the South Course. On Friday at the much easier North Course, Woods shot a second straight 70 that could’ve been better if not for a double bogey on the ninth hole.

Saturday he returned to the South, site of eight of his PGA Tour titles. Under sparkling California skies, his round was more or less a slog. He began the day 11 shots back – already out of it, if we’re being honest here – and failed to make a charge while carding a one-under 71. But it’s all good. Read on!

Starting on No. 10, he either mishit his opening tee shot (video of the strike has not surfaced) or hit a head-scratching iron. The shot was measured at just 217 yards. He flew the green with his approach, chipped it 10 feet past the hole and blew the par putt. And cue the slog.

After six straight pars, he split the fairway on 17 with a 3-wood, knocked his approach to four feet and poured in the putt for his first birdie of the day. But after making the turn, the wheels started to come off. Woods lipped out an 8-footer for par on 1 and three-putted 3. He had a wedge in on both occasions and walked off with bogeys on each.

“I don’t feel bad over the shots, it’s just through impact it’s not as clean as I’d like,” Woods said. “I just didn’t quite have it with my iron game again.”

But Woods, as he always does, gave it everything he had right to the end. He knocked in an 11-footer for birdie on 8 and a four-foot birdie on 9 to close his round. For the day he hit 10 of 14 fairways and 14 greens in regulation. He converted 14 of those chances into four birdies and finished with 31 putts.

“If I can drive it like I did today and hit my irons a little better, I’ll have plenty of looks. It’s frustrating because I’m hitting a lot of good putts and they’re just not going in,” Woods said.

A ho-hum round in what has become a ho-hum week for Woods. Hey, it’s a tune-up.

As he strolled off that last green, Nick Faldo chimed in on the CBS broadcast. “He’s just looking to get the rust off,” the major champion-turned-broadcaster said. Seems about right. Eighteen holes remain, but a whole season is still ahead.