Tiger Woods shoots his worst score ever. What's going on? (+video)
Tiger Woods shot a 13-over-par 85 in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village on Saturday. Nick Faldo says Tiger Woods' mental game is the problem, not his swing.
Dublin, Ohio — Tiger Woods produced the worst round of his professional career, a 13-over-par 85 in the third round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village on Saturday.
The 14-time major champion finished off a bad day with a quadruple bogey eight on the 18th hole to eclipse his previous worst of 82 at the Phoenix Open earlier this year.
Just a day after making a clutch par putt to make the cut on the number, the five-time event champion managed just one birdie while carding six bogeys, two double bogeys and the quadruple bogey.
Woods' deterioration on the golf course is a result of mental gremlins more than anything physical, six times major winner Nick Faldo said on Saturday.
"For me, this has been going on a while," Faldo, now an analyst, said on Golf Channel after Woods finished 13-over for the third round at the Memorial tournament in Ohio.
"Three Masters ago, I was on the (practice) range watching Tiger hit beautiful fades and draws. He was hitting the ball fabulously. (Then) he walks to the first tee, two snap hooks.
"From that day on, I thought to myself, he's not comfortable, he's starting to fear shots. When you are fearing a shot before you hit it, we're all in serious trouble."
Woods' score at Muirfield Village was not exactly out of the blue. Four months ago he shot an 11-over 82 at the Phoenix Open, his short game in disarray and his long game not much better.
However, he found some form in time for the Masters, finishing a respectable equal 17th.
But he clearly he has not solved his problems.
Faldo said Woods was still searching for a swing fix during a practice round this week accompanied by coach Chris Como.
"One of the players playing a practice round with Tiger heard him (Woods) say four times (to Como) 'OK, what am I trying now'.
"So they are just searching. It just doesn't look right."
Woods, 39, began working with Como last year after spending four years with Sean Foley.
He has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, but did win five times on the PGA Tour in 2013.
His personal life has also been tumultuous the past six years. In 2009, the revelation of multiple affairs led to a divorce from Elin Nordegren the following year.
Woods began dating Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn in 2012, but they broke up recently.
After Saturday's 85, Faldo said: "This is a sledgehammer to the side of the head. Tiger is going to walk away saying to himself, what am I going to do next? How do I pull this back. I'm not too sure he much can handle all of this."
The round marked the third time in his professional career Woods had failed to break 80 after an 81 in the 2002 British Open.
The former world No. 1, who has slumped to 172nd in the global rankings, found water hazards four times.
As was the case over the opening two rounds he struggled to find fairways, getting just seven of 14, leaving him with 16 of 42 over three rounds
He sits 71st at 12-over par for the tournament, 24 shots off second round leader David Lingmerth.
American Zac Blair, playing with his idol for the first time, bested Woods by 15 shots.
"I've always wanted to play with him. As a little kid that was kind of my dream growing up but it was unfortunate to see him not play great," the 20-year-old Blair said.
"He's just kind of working through some things, obviously it takes some time to work through some swing changes and stuff like that.
"But he's the best player to ever play, in my opinion. He'll get back to playing good."
Woods' woes began with back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes and when he went from bunker to bunker on the par three eighth en route to a double bogey, the wheels were already coming off.
He took another double on nine after dumping his approach in the water, was wet again on the 11th, and by the 12th was eight over.
His fifth bogey came on the 14th hole when he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker before he managed his lone birdie on the par five 15th.
Any thought of a strong finish was denied when his approach on the 17th caught a tree and dropped into a creek, resulting in another bogey before absolute disaster struck on the last.
Taking a three-wood off the tee, Woods pulled his shot into another creek and after a drop could only muscle his ball short of the green.
He caught his chip shot heavy and watched his ball roll back down a steep slope and off the green. He chunked his next attempt into a bunker.
Unable to get up and down from the sand he was forced to take an eight, ensuring his worst ever score.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)