Tiger Woods worked on his game well into the evening after Friday’s 3-over par 75. After Saturday’s even-par round failed to move him up the leaderboard, he went to work on his image.
He apologized for show-
ing his frustration again Saturday on an Augusta National course that hasn’t been kind this week to the four-time Masters champion. He kicked his club in disgust after an errant 16th tee shot Friday. A wayward drive off the 13th tee Saturday ended with Woods slamming his club to the ground.
“I’m sorry if I offended anybody by that,” Woods said. “I’ve hit some bad shots, and it’s certainly frustrating at times not to hit the ball where I’ve needed to hit it.”
It’s been that kind of week for Woods, who started the day eight strokes off the lead and ended it 12 behind. Another promising start with birdies at the third and fourth holes gave way to bogeys at Nos. 6 and 9. He failed to climb into contention on the second nine, posting par on every hole.
At least five times, his birdie attempt came to within inches of the cup before rolling past or stopping short. His 20-foot try at 12 came up two inches shy of the hole, and an 18-foot putt at 14 lipped out.
“It was so close to being a really good round of golf,” he said. “I just didn’t take care of the opportunities when I had them.”
The worst of the missed opportunities came on the par-5s, where Woods once again failed to make a move. He parred all four for the second consecutive day and will head into the final round just 1-under for the tournament on the par-5s.
Woods said his problem on the holes he once dominated isn’t a simple fix.
“I would like to say it was poor driving,” he said. “But then I’d drive in the fairways and I’d miss it into a bad spot or I’d miss a drive and then compound the problem from there or I’d hit two really nice shots up there or three good shots up there in a position where I could make birdie and I’d miss it. It’s just one thing after another.”
Woods drove his tee shot on the par-5 eighth into the fairway bunker, preventing him from reaching the green in two. He laid up out of the sand and settled for a two-putt par.
Woods’ errant drive at 13 – the one that prompted his second thrown club of the tournament – settled onto the bank of Rae’s Creek tributary that runs along the left side of the fairway. He was once again forced to lay up and two-putted for another par.
Woods hit his approach on the par-5 15th right for the second consecutive day and was forced to blast out of the greenside bunker. His 20-foot birdie putt slid within an inch of the cup before rolling four feet past.
Woods said after Friday’s round that he’s had trouble this week dealing with swing problems that he controlled well enough two weeks ago to win at Bay Hill. He went straight to the practice range after the second round to iron out the problems and said the extra work paid off.
“It was better today. This round was a lot better,” he said. “I felt a lot more comfortable over the shots. Unfortunately, I was just a fraction off.”
That fraction kept Woods standing still while much of the rest of the field pulled away.
“Par is not a good score all the time at Augusta,” said Padraig Harrington, who shot 4-under 68 to put himself in contention. “You’ve got to make some birdies out there.”
Birdies haven’t been easy for Woods, whose 3-over 72-75-72 matched his worst 54-hole total at Augusta. Another round above par could set off his temper again, though Woods did try to explain his actions.
“I certainly heard that people didn’t like me kicking the club. I didn’t like it, either,” he said. “I hit it in the bunker, and it didn’t feel good on my toe, either.”