Tiger Woods was the last to tee off Saturday in the British Open. He had the biggest gallery. It might have seemed like old times for Woods in the major championships except for one tiny detail.
He was starting on the 10th tee in last place. And this third round didn’t get much better.
Woods began the British Open with five birdies in a six-hole stretch for a 69 that put him only three shots behind Rory McIlroy. He walked off Royal Liverpool on Saturday with another round over par, leaving him 19 shots out of the lead.
“Made a lot of mistakes,” Woods said.
Woods was 5-over par on the opening two holes going into the weekend. At least he was able to start with a par 5 on Saturday at No. 10, and he opened with a pair of birdies. That was about as good as it got.
He made a double bogey for the second straight day, this time at No. 2. He drove into a gorse bush on the seventh fairway and made a triple bogey for the second straight day. The damage added to a 73, leaving him 19 shots behind.
“I’ve made two doubles and two triples,” Woods said. “But on top of that, I missed a lot of shots for opportunities for birdies, and consequently I’m 3-over par.”
Woods is playing for only the second time since back surgery on March 31. He missed the cut at Congressional three weeks ago.
Darren Clarke has only two top 10s in the three years since he won The Open at Royal St. George’s — a runner-up against a weak field in China, and a tie for eighth in the Australian PGA Championship.
He gave himself a chance for another with a 5-under 67 on Saturday, matching the best score of the day. Clarke was 11 shots out of the lead in a tie for 12th.
“I’ve been playing OK for quite some time,” Clarke said. “Today I holed a couple of putts and managed to keep some momentum going.”
Of course, he has had to adjust to a new body. Clarke has lost some 50 pounds after seeing photos of himself that he thought made him look too large.
Jordan Spieth has now played with Tiger Woods five times this year — twice at Torrey Pines, twice at Congressional and Saturday in the British Open. Spieth is 20 shots better than Woods in those five rounds. ... Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler are the only players to shoot in the 60s all three rounds going into Sunday. Three players have posted all four rounds in the 60s at The Open without winning — Ernie Els at Royal Troon in 2004, Jesper Parnevik at Turnberry in 1994, and Els at Royal St. George’s in 1993.