After playing his first seven holes in 4 under to get to 6 under on the week at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, Tiger Woods had people believing that he could come from seven deep on the weekend at a big boy event like this and actually win. His vehicle stalled out on the second half of the lap though, and Tiger played his next 11 holes in 2 over for a 2-under 70 on the day.
He’s now 4 under for the week and was eight back of the lead at the time he finished.
The story of Woods’ second nine was the story of his day on Friday as well. One hole undid him. On Friday, it was the par-5 15th. On Saturday, it was the par-4 10th. More on that in a minute, but first let’s dive into the details of Big Cat’s 70.
Front nine (4-under 32): Tiger caught fire early and often on the front nine at Memorial on Saturday. He birdied four of the first seven holes he saw and left a birdie at the 8th hole a couple of rotations short of the center of the cup. Everything was so dialed in. From a birdie hole-out at the first to several tight wedges, it was clear Woods was feeling it and gained nearly four (!) strokes on the field on that side of the course.
Back nine (2-over 38): The trouble for Woods came on his tee shot on No. 10, which landed in a left-hand fairway bunker. Woods grabbed a club with not nearly enough loft on it, and though I was hollering at my television from Dallas, Texas, he proceeded to try and blast out. It didn’t even come close to clearing the lip, and he had to pitch out from there. Three more shots and the double bogey was complete.
Woods did hit some tremendous shots on the second nine, but he was undone by bogeys on the 14th (flew the green and nearly shanked a chip) and 18th (horrendous drive left him dead). With his week teetering on contention, Woods posted a 38 when anything under par likely would have scored him a Sunday afternoon tee time.
What went well: His iron play was terrific, and it has been all week. Tiger is 15th in the field in approach shots through three rounds and gained more than a stroke on Saturday with his irons. His proximity to the hole — 22 feet on Saturday — was also near the top of the field in Round 3.
What went poorly: Again, it’s just one bad hole. But when you keep saying “it’s just one bad hole” multiple days throughout the week of an event, it compounds and pulls you out of a tournament where you should probably be at least on the fringe of contending. He also lost strokes off the tee, mostly because of bad drives at the 10th and 18th.
Shot of the day: Tiger’s hole-out on the first was terrific, although it was his approach on the third that was probably his shot of the day. A wedge from 127 yards to 3 feet is useful.
Where he stands and what’s next: Woods was T24 at the end of his round and could have a slightly later tee time on Sunday morning. But he won’t contend for his sixth Memorial. Big Cat needed something around 66 on Saturday — which he was tracking to shoot! — to get into the mix at his last event before the U.S. Open.