<
>

Tiger Woods shoots 73, falls out of contention at WGC-Bridgestone

play
Tiger shoots 3 over in Round 3 of WGC-Bridgestone (1:44)

Tiger Woods shoots a 73 in Round 3, putting him out of contention at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. (1:44)

AKRON, Ohio -- If there was something bothering Tiger Woods on Saturday during a steamy third round at Firestone Country Club, he was not saying.

No back issues? No illness?

"I'm fine,'' he said. "Just played like crap.''

The latter is certainly true, given his good form of late and his fondness for the course. But his 3-over-par 73 knocked him out of contention at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and led to questions about whether something was amiss.

Woods has never been totally forthcoming in these situations, though he did admit after the first round of the Memorial Tournament in June that he sometimes wakes up with a stiff lower back, which is simply life for him as a 42-year-old golfer who has endured four back surgeries.

But the truth is Woods has not looked sharp during any round, and his range session prior to teeing off Saturday was poor.

Woods might not be in the kind of pain that he suffered through the past few years prior to spinal fusion surgery in April 2017 -- or any pain at all -- but he was clearly having some timing and speed issues.

"He wasn't hitting it as far as he normally does,'' said Marc Leishman, who played with Woods and beat him by six shots. It was the fifth round they've played together this year. "His good stuff, it's still good. He's right there. He might have had an off day. We all do. I wouldn't put it down to anything more than that.''

That is possibly all it was for Woods, who shot his highest score since an opening-round 78 at the U.S. Open.

Coming into the day, he had shot 10 scores in a row of par or better dating to the Quicken Loans National, where he tied for fourth. He followed with a tie for sixth at The Open, which helped him narrowly qualify for the Bridgestone, where he has won eight times.

But in 62 rounds in this tournament dating to 1999, Woods made just a single birdie for only the third time. It was only his fifth score in the 70s during a third round here.

"Everything," Woods said when asked what he was fighting. "I didn't warm up very well. I didn't hit the ball crisp or clean. Very similar to the first day. The difference is I made everything the first day. Today, I didn't make anything.''

play
0:25

Tiger says he 'played like crap' in Round 3

After shooting three-over par in Round 3, Tiger Woods says he was fighting "everything" and that he didn't warm up well or hit the ball crisply.

He also didn't give himself a lot of chances. Woods hit just seven of 14 fairways and nine of 18 greens. He took 29 putts, making four bogeys and a birdie.

After starting the day in a tie for 10th place, he finished in a tie for 28th at 3-under 207, 11 shots back of leader Justin Thomas. With a hectic schedule coming up -- Woods is expected to play four of the next five weeks -- there is little time for him to work it out in practice.

"It's mainly just recovering,'' Woods said. "I've got to recover for tomorrow. That's one of the challenges as we age, is trying to recover for the next day. It's got a lot harder. Before I used to go run three, four miles to cool off. That's no longer happening anymore. So it's just about getting ready for tomorrow, and then from there, trying to build all my energy into Thursday of next week.''

Woods was referring to the PGA Championship at Bellerive in St. Louis, where he will head Sunday night to get ready for a course he hasn't seen since 2001. That year, the WGC-American Express Championship (now the Mexico Championship) was scheduled for Bellerive but was canceled due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.