Tiger Woods plummets from contention with Saturday 73 at Firestone

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods plummets from contention with Saturday 73 at Firestone

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods plummets from contention with Saturday 73 at Firestone

Tiger Woods appeared to have the signs in his favor heading into Moving Day. But this Saturday would prove to be a massive disappointment.

The wheels came off in the third round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as Woods was all out of sorts Saturday on his way to a 3-over 73 that dropped him from contention at Firestone’s South Course.

It was one of the most surprising rounds from Woods in months, as he opened the week 66-68. At five back entering Saturday, it seemed the 42-year-old was in good position to make a charge on Moving Day. Couple that position with his leading the PGA Tour in third-round scoring average entering the day and having won this event at this course eight times, and it seemed a charge was downright likely.

But it never materialized. Woods’ swing was funky from the start and he slowly plummeted down the leaderboard on Saturday. He began the round in  tie for 10th but had fallen to T-28 when he reached the clubhouse after his third round. He was 12 strokes off Justin Thomas’ lead when Woods finished his day.

This essentially kills Woods’ chances this week at earning his first PGA Tour win in five years (and 80th overall).

What went wrong on this Saturday? Pretty much everything.

Woods actually began Saturday better than in Round 2, as his opening driving iron found the fairway a day after pulling one into the rough. But his first approach was a harbinger of struggles to come.

A simple approach from 127 yards saw Woods come up short and left, as his ball spun off a false front. He did end up knocking his chip to 6 feet and drained the putt for an opening par, but the theme of the round had been set.

His ball-striking would prove to be beyond erratic Saturday, as Woods scrambled around his first six holes and did well to start with all pars. Eventually, it all caught up.

Woods missed yet another green at the par-3 seventh after a tugged tee shot, chipped to 8 feet and missed the putt to make his first bogey of the day. He followed by giving himself good birdie looks around 10 feet at Nos. 8 and 9 but missed both.

His misery grew further when he bogeyed the 11th to drop to 2 over for the round and 4 under overall. Suddenly, he was nine back.

It looked for a moment Woods might turn it all around when he drained a 12-footer for birdie at the par-3 12th and then roasted a driver down the fairway at the par-4 13th.

Then his ball-striking reared its head again. Woods airmailed the green on his approach, leaving him in an impossible position and leading to another bogey.

It would be back-to-back bogeys at No. 14 and he made an 8-footer at the 15th just to avoid three straight. After that, he made three more pars to close out his round.

Simply, nothing worked on this Saturday.

Woods’ driving continued to be an issue as he hit just seven of 14 fairways, but it was his approach play that was the biggest weakness as he had a number of baffling misses. He also seemed to put some of his misses in bad places, too.

Overall, he found just nine of 18 greens in regulation. Woods indicated after each of the first two rounds that he wasn’t totally pleased with his ball-striking. That really showed on this Saturday as it all came tumbling down.

His short game and putter helped save him for a little bit, but his flatstick went cold in the middle of the round. Woods also seemed to just be a bit lethargic, so much so that some speculated on social media if he was sick or injured (which there is no actual proof of at the moment).

It just seemed to be one of those rounds that pop up once in a while. People can read into it as much as they want, but it was simply just one bad day.

Still, there’s plenty of disappointment from this round. Many thought Woods had a great chance to break his win drought this week at Firestone.

After this Saturday, those hopes are dashed.

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