After narrowly making the PGA Championship cut a defiant Tiger Woods had predicted he still had a chance to hoist the Wanamaker trophy but any remaining belief disappeared in a nightmare nine-over 79 third round on Saturday.
Playing his second event in a comeback from a career-threatening car crash, just making the cut at Southern Hills Country Club was something to celebrate but for Woods and his thousands of fans there was precious little to cheer — although they did every shot.
The ninth pair out on a cold, rainy day, reality quickly struck home with any glimmer of a miracle charge dimmed as the bogeys piled up, Woods hobbling away a massive 21 shots back of leader Will Zalatoris, who had yet to tee off.
The bravado Woods displayed on Friday had completely vanished as the 15-time major winner headed for treatment non-committal when asked if he would be physically able to play Sunday’s final round,
“I’m sore,” Woods told a reporter. “I know that is for a fact. We’ll do some work and see how it goes.”
Sitting 12 off the pace at the start of play, the task facing Woods already looked impossible but the 46-year-old American has made a career of defying the odds, including his latest comeback from the accident 15 months ago that nearly cost him his right leg.
A bogey at the second was followed by a triple-bogey at the par-three sixth after finding water off the tee as his slide picked up speed with another dropped shot at seven.
After taking his third bogey at the ninth a dejected Woods gave a half-hearted wave to the adoring gallery and trudged off to the 10th tee.
There would be no relief on the back nine as troubles followed him through the turn with four consecutive bogeys.
The highlight of the day came at the par four 15th where Woods picked up his only birdie.
“I couldn’t get off the bogey train there, or other train, too,” said Woods. “As I said, I just didn’t do anything right.
“I didn’t hit many good shots. Consequently I ended up with a pretty high score.”