Long road for Tiger in search of Open win

June, 17, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO -- On Saturday evening, Tiger Woods had a chance to salvage his third round if he could go 1 or 2 under par on the final three holes. The 670-yard par-5 16th was the fourth hardest hole at Olympic on Saturday, but 17 was the easiest and the short 18 with a decent drive is a full wedge into a small green.

Tiger would bogey two of the three holes, which left him 5 shots off the lead starting the final round, probably killing his chances of winning his fourth U.S. Open.

What should we expect from Tiger today? How much will his poor finish on Saturday stay with him on Sunday?

For starters, Tiger is not a chaser. All of his 14 major wins have come with him starting the final round with the lead. But most importantly, a miraculous 65 is not in his game because there are not that many birdies on the Lake Course at Olympic. An even-par or 1-under round is not going to be enough to close the gap with the leaders.

Still, it will be exciting to see him try to go out and attack pins. It's no time for him to be conservative or patient. Even with starting out on the toughest stretch on the course, Holes 1-6, he has to try to build some momentum by making it through that gauntlet even par. Then he can try to attack the middle of the course, where there could be some birdie opportunities.

This could be a defining day in Tiger's storied career to do something he's never done before: come from behind to win a major. It's a long shot, but no player in the field has more mental toughness in the field than the 73-time tour winner to pull it off.

Farrell Evans covers golf for ESPN and can be contacted at evans.espn@gmail.com.





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