TULSA, Okla. — After carding one of his worst scores at a major in the third round of the 104th PGA Championship on Saturday, Tiger Woods said he would assess whether to play the final 18 holes because of pain in his surgically repaired right leg.
“Well, I’m sore. I know that is for a fact,” Woods told a pool reporter. “We’ll do some work and see how it goes.”
With temperatures dropping into the mid-50s, rain falling and winds howling at Southern Hills Country Club, conditions were difficult for nearly everyone in the third round. But especially for Woods, 46, who is playing in just his second tour event since he was seriously hurt in a car crash in February 2021.
After making five consecutive bogeys in a major for only the second time (along with the first round of the 1996 U.S. Open), Woods made his only birdie of the round with a 37-foot putt on the par-4 15th. He carded a 9-over 79, his worst career score at the PGA Championship, and was 12 over after 54 holes.
Woods scratched and clawed his way to avoid missing the cut Friday and then said he hoped to go low Saturday to get himself back into contention. But Woods had to play well over the final five holes of the third round to escape shooting 80 in a major for just the third time in his storied career.
“I couldn’t get off the bogey train there, or other train too,” Woods said. “I just didn’t do anything right. I didn’t hit many good shots. Consequently, I ended up with a pretty high score.”
When the 15-time major champion returned to the tour for the first time in nearly 17 months at the Masters in April, he posted his worst score at Augusta National, 6-over 78, in each of the last two rounds. The endurance and strength in his surgically repaired right leg again seemed to be issues this week.
With an additional five weeks for his leg to heal and get stronger, Woods was hoping for better results at Southern Hills. But he struggled mightily in the two rounds in which he had morning tee times. Saturday’s dramatic weather change didn’t help his chances, and temperatures are forecast to be in the low 50s again..
“You know, he’s such a phenomenal player,” said South Africa’s Shaun Norris, who played with Woods on Saturday and shot a 4-over 74. “You feel sorry for him having to go through this. But then again, you also see the type of person he is, that he grinds through everything and he pushes himself through all of the pain. It’s not easy to see a guy like him have to go through that and struggle like that.”
Hoping to continue his momentum from Friday’s back nine at Southern Hills, where Woods last won a PGA Championship in 2007, he instead hit two balls into the water in the first six holes and carded a triple-bogey 6 on the par-3 sixth hole.
Woods bogeyed the second hole after hitting his tee shot into a creek. He had a great look for birdie on the fourth but missed a five-footer. He had been 32-for-32 on putts of 5 feet or less before the miss.
“I just didn’t play well,” Woods said. “I didn’t hit the ball very well and got off to not the start I needed to get off to. I thought I hit a good tee shot down 2 and ended up in the water and just never really got any kind of momentum on my side.”
Things got very ugly from there. The par-3 sixth hole was playing 218 yards straight into strong winds from the north. Woods seemed to like his shot with a 4-iron off the tee, but it might have been two clubs short. His ball was about 25 yards short of the hole and plopped into a creek, and Woods wasn’t amused while walking down the sixth fairway.
“That go in the f—ing water?” Woods said. “I mean, how f—ing far is it playing?”
After taking a drop, Woods’ wedge shot from 110 yards spun off the green. His chip shot from the rough was short. He needed two putts from there for a triple-bogey. It was his first triple-bogey or worse in a major since he took a 10 on the par-3 12th at the 2020 Masters after hitting three balls in the water. It was just the fifth triple-bogey or worse on a par-3 in his major career.
Woods double-bogeyed the par-3 11th hole during the second round Friday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it is the first time in his career that he carded a double-bogey or worse on multiple par-3s in a major. He was 4 over on par-3s on Saturday and is 7 over on those holes in the tournament.
He had additional bogeys on Nos. 7 and 9 and made the turn at 6-over 41, his worst nine-hole score at the PGA Championship. He bogeyed Nos. 10-13 to start the back nine.