Woods's dreamy talk of Green Jacket ends in nightmare round

April 14, 2024 12:29 pm

[Source: Reuters]

After Tiger Woods claimed a record 24th consecutive made cut at Augusta National the five-times Masters champion engaged in dreamy talk of a sixth Green Jacket.

Reality hit home on Saturday, however, in the form of a nightmare third round as the 48-year-old’s injury-battered body appeared to quit on him as he carded a 10-over 82, his worst ever score at Augusta National.

It marked the first time in 99 rounds that Woods had failed to break 80 at the Masters, his score four strokes higher than his previous worst of 78 set in the third and fourth rounds in 2022.

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Coming into the Masters, Woods had played just 24 holes this year and had to play nearly as many on a marathon Friday that began with completing the last five holes of his weather-delayed opening round followed immediately by another 18.

That effort, both physical and mental, simply seemed to be too much for a golfer who has struggled for fitness for years dealing with back, knee and ankle injuries and a near fatal car crash in 2021 that almost resulted in the amputation of his right leg.

“It did,” said Woods, when asked if Friday’s effort wore him down physically. “It’s just that I haven’t competed and played much.

“When I had chances to get it flipped around and when I made that putt at five, I promptly three-putted six and flub a chip at seven and just got it going the wrong way.

“When I had opportunities to flip it, I didn’t.”

Woods got his 99th round at the Masters off to a quiet start with three straight pars before it all began to unravel, dropping six shots over four holes heading into the turn, including back-to-back double bogeys at seven, where he chipped into a bunker and another at eight.

Walking with a slight limp heading onto the back nine and into Amen Corner it looked as if Woods might pull the plug on a round spiralling out of control.

The former world number one was able to put the breaks on the nose dive with pars at 10 and 11 but the slide did not stop.

Woods soaked up a loud ovation walking onto the tee of Augusta’s signature hole the par-three 12th before slumping to another bogey.

The 15-times major winner would collect just his second birdie of the day at 13 but that was followed by four consecutive bogeys before closing out a miserable day with a tap-in in par at 18.

Woods still vowed to return for Sunday’s final round and be ready to compete.

“My team will get me ready,” assured Woods. “It will be a long night and a long warm-up session, but we’ll be ready.”