Tiger Woods' 44 worst 9-hole score

DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tiger Woods shot his worst nine-hole score as a professional and threatened his worst 18-hole total before settling for a 79 during the third round of the Memorial Tournament on Saturday.

Woods, the defending champion, took 44 strokes over his opening nine holes, the back nine at Muirfield Village Golf Club, where he has won five times and never had shot worse than 76 -- 10 years ago.

He's tied for 69th place at 8-over 224 for the tournament, 16 shots behind leader Matt Kuchar.

"It was a rough day,'' Woods said to a PGA Tour media official. "It was tough out there from beginning to end.''

Woods' 79 came without a penalty stroke. He had a triple-bogey, two double-bogeys and three bogeys along with three birdies. For the second straight day, he made a double-bogey at the par-5 15th and has played the hole in 5-over par through three rounds.

His day was summed up by what occurred at the par-4 18th, his ninth hole of the round. After hitting his tee shot in the fairway, his approach from 166 yards hit on the front of the green and spun off, leaving him a 30-yard pitch. He again hit it on the front of the green, only to see it roll back.

From there, he wedged past the hole and three-putted for a triple-bogey 7.

"We didn't hit that many bad shots starting out the day, and the next thing you know we are quite a few over par,'' he said. "It was a tough day. I tried to fight back on the back nine, just didn't quite materialize.''

The 44 was his first in 17 years on the PGA Tour. Three times, he has shot 43 -- at the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship, the 2007 Arnold Palmer Championsip and the 1996 Tour Championship.

Woods' worst 18-hole score as a pro occurred at the 2002 Open Championship, where he shot a third-round 81 in horrendous weather conditions while attempting to win his third straight major title.

Last year, Woods twice shot 75, his worst of the year. In 2011, his worst was an opening-round 77 at the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. He shot 79 at the 2010 Wells Fargo Championshp and also had 77 that year at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Woods, the No. 1-ranked player in the world who has won four times this year, shot 74 on Friday and had not shot two rounds over par at Muirfield Village since 1998. His worst finish in 13 previous appearances was a tie for 67th in 1997.

"It's just one of those things where I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggled out there,'' Woods said. "The conditions were tough. When I missed, it cost me. I caught the wrong gusts at the wrong time, made a couple bad swings and all in all, it just went the wrong way.''