HOYLAKE, England -- Tiger Woods was where he was always meant to be on Saturday, teeing off last in a major championship.
The problem was, he was last off the 10th tee, a product of the Open Championship's first-ever split-tee start, way on the other side of Royal Liverpool when tournament leader Rory McIlroy was going off No. 1.
A change of scenery initially helped, as Woods avoided the nightmare first and second holes and birdied the 10th and 11 for a promising start to the third round.
But two more big numbers offset the five birdies he made, and Woods settled for a 1-over-par 73, leaving him a whopping 19 shots back of McIlroy through 54 holes and in danger of his worst 72-hole finish in a major as a pro.
"Made a lot of mistakes," Woods said when asked to sum up his first three rounds. "I've made two doubles and two triples. But on top of that I missed a lot of shots for opportunities for birdies, and consequently I'm 3-over par."
He has now played his last 17 weekend rounds of majors without shooting in the 60s, dating to a final-round 67 at the 2011 Masters.
Woods is playing his first major championship of the year after missing the Masters and U.S. Open due to March 31 back surgery. And Saturday was just his fifth round, following 74-75 to miss the cut last month at the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour.
But after a promising start with a 69 that could have been better, little has gone right for Woods. He started the first two holes on Friday with a double bogey and a bogey and added another double bogey at the second on Saturday. He also had a triple-bogey 7 at the par-4 seventh when his tee shot was lost in a shrub.
For the tournament, Woods has played holes 1 and 2 in 6-over par. He stands at 219, 3-over par.
"I'm starting to get the flow of the round, the flow of playing again," he said. "But still I've just made too many mistakes. You can't run up high scores like that and expect to contend, especially when the conditions are this benign. Most of the scores are 3-under par or better. I certainly didn't do that."
Woods is tied for 58th and threatening his worst 72-hole finish in a major as a pro. He finished 40th last year at the PGA Championship, and was also 40th at the 2012 Masters. Woods has also missed three cuts in major championship.