Tiger Woods shot the highest round in his professional career — an 85 — in the third round of The Memorial Tournament in Ohio on Saturday.
As AP's Doug Ferguson reported:
"The broader question is where this leaves him with a full summer of majors ahead. Woods showed remarkable improvement when he returned from his break at the Masters with a tie for 17th, though he was never seriously in contention. And while he had to make putts on his final hole just to survive the cut in his last two tournaments, it still was the first time in more than a year that he made the cut in three straight starts. And now this."
PGATour.com's Sean Martin summarised Woods' woes:
"Woods declined to speak to the media after his round. It’s the second time this year that he’s shot the worst round of his PGA TOUR career. His 82 at this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open was his previous worst.
"He made bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5, then made consecutive doubles at Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn in 42. He found two bunkers on the par-3 eighth hole and hit his approach into the water at the next hole.
"He made bogeys at Nos. 11, 12 and 14 before making his lone birdie of the day, at the par-5 15th. He reached the green in two shots and two-putted from 28 feet.
"He made bogey at No. 17, then had his struggles at the 18th. He drove into the creek left of the fairway, took a drop and hit his third shot short of the green. He hit his chip shot fat; his ball rolled down the hill fronting the green and came to rest farther from the hole than where it started. He chunked his next chip into a greenside bunker, then two-putted.”
Karen Crouse wrote in the New York Times of Woods' playing partner Zac Blair, a 24-year old rookie who idolised Woods as a child and even got his autograph during the 2000 US PGA:
Blair’s father, James, a PGA pro, competed in the event but Woods was the player Blair, then 9, idolized. Fifteen years later, Zac Blair realized a dream when he was paired with Woods on Saturday in the third round of the Memorial Tournament, hosted by Jack Nicklaus.
Blair had no idea when he teed off at No. 1 at Muirfield Golf Club that his fantasy pairing would make him a witness to a nightmarish piece of history. With a two-under 70, Blair beat Woods by 15 strokes. Woods’s 85 was his worst score since he turned professional in 1996, eclipsing the 82 he carded in January in the second round of the Phoenix Open....
Blair, a 24-year-old rookie, added: “He obviously had a tough day. But he was super nice, super friendly, was always willing to talk, and I thought we got along great. It was fun.”
Blair’s father took a red-eye flight from Las Vegas and landed in Cincinnati before dawn on Saturday. He said he would not have missed watching his son play alongside Woods for anything.
“The only thing that could have been better is if Tiger had beaten him by one to keep it going,” said Blair’s father, a club pro in St. George, Utah.
“Every time I see Tiger, I thank him for the wonderful life he’s made for me as a PGA golf professional,” Blair’s father said. “Look at what he did for my son. Just to see the excitement in my son’s eyes with the fist pumps, how many people Tiger energized — I pray every day he gets it back. I’m really pulling for him.”
As for the Memorial Tournament leaders, England's Justin Rose shot a 66 to head the field by three strokes on 15 under par from Francesco Molinari (69) and Sweden's David Lingmerth (72).
Web.com Tour - Power move
West Waterford's Seamus Power has given himself another chance to inch nearer The 25 who win PGA Tour status via the second tier circuit after firing a five under par 67 in the third round of the Greater Dallas Open.
Power is tied 29th on 11 under par, eight shots behind Tyler Aldridge and 87th in The 25 with $25,666 having made five of 10 cuts.