Whether he truly believes it or not, Tiger Woods doesn’t think he is out of it at Augusta National.
The even-par 72 on Saturday, the 3-over total and increasing deficit in the Masters might indicate otherwise.
“Obviously I need help from the guys this afternoon,” said Woods, who needed 31 putts on Saturday. “Regardless of what they do, I need to play a great round of golf tomorrow, and hopefully I can do that.”
In a round that unraveled like Friday’s 3-over 75 debacle, Woods picked up early birdies at Nos. 3 and 4, posted bogeys at Nos. 6 and 9 and then made nine straight pars. Woods’ signature back-nine charge simply wasn’t there.
“I was so close to putting it together today,” said Woods, who needed 31 putts on Saturday. “I unfortunately did not play the par 5s very well today. I’m telling you, it was so close to being a really good round of golf. I just didn’t take care of the opportunities when I had them.”
The par 5s have been uncharacteristically unkind to Woods this week, picking up only one birdie in 12 tries. Coming into this week, he was 133 under through 66 career rounds at Augusta National. He is 0-for-4 the past two days on the course’s long holes.
Woods doesn’t really know what the problem is, specifically.
“I would like to say it was poor driving, but then I drive in the fairways and then miss into a bad spot or I would miss the drive and then compound the problem from there, ” Woods said. “It was just one thing after another. So you have got to be patient, which I was today. I was very patient out there. I was grinding hard, and it was a tough day.”
Woods did address his outbursts on the course on Friday, specifically kicking the club and cursing after missing the green on No. 16.
“Certainly I’m frustrated at times, and I apologize if I offended anybody by that,” Woods said. “But I’ve hit some bad shots, and it’s certainly frustrating at times not hitting the ball where you need to hit it.”
Woods controlled his ball better on Saturday, hitting 11 fairways (he hit eight on Friday) and 13 greens (he hit seven on Friday). Knowing that he did strike the ball better on Saturday, Woods definitely was frustrated by not posting a lower score.
“It’s so frustrating because I’m so close to doing it. I’m so close to turning it around,” he said. “I would just hit a couple of good shots in a row and compound the problem with a bad shot in the wrong spot. I know where I need to miss it, and I don’t miss in that spot. Each pin, you have to miss the golf ball in a certain spot, and I have been missing the spots just by a little bit here and there.”
That isn’t a ringing endorsement of a guy who likely will have to go incredibly low on Sunday to challenge the leaders.
“Anything can happen,” Woods said.