Golf

Tiger struggles in 3rd round of QLN, goes wrong way on moving day

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Tiger struggles in 3rd round of QLN, goes wrong way on moving day

BY PETER HAILEY

GAINESVILLE, Va. -- When Tiger Woods hit a miraculous second shot through a group of trees that landed just off the green on the second hole of his third round at the Quicken Loans National, the fans following him buzzed with excitement. 

And when Woods went on to chip his third shot on to the green and tap in for par -- a tremendous save after a woeful tee shot -- the gallery at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club was thrilled.

"That's the old Tiger Woods!" one man yelled, as others marveled at Woods' ability to gather himself and end with a par after starting so poorly. 

It was at that moment where hopes were highest -- hopes that Woods would heat up, continue to build off of his impressive first two rounds, and put himself in position to contend for a win at his own tournament.

Those hopes, however, were dashed about an hour and a half later starting on the eighth hole, as Woods would shoot 3-over on the final 11 after staying even through the first seven. As the round dragged on, and Tiger's drives got wilder and wilder, the 39-year-old was simply unable to hit the terrific rescue shots that he had at the start of the day.

Woods admitted he sensed something was awry while warming up on the range.

"Unfortunately, I warmed up that way," Woods said after posting a 74. "Sometimes it's one of those things you hit awful on the range and go stripe it on a golf course. That wasn't the case here. I warmed up, it was indicative of how I played."

The first two days for Woods brought along a lot of promise, and he began Saturday tied for fifth and just four shots off the lead. But as many golfers were able to climb up the leaderboard by taking advantage of the soft greens and warm temperatures at RTJ, he went the opposite way.

When all was said and done, Woods had fallen 37 spots, and heads into Sunday tied for 42nd. 

"I was waiting for the one moment, the one shot," he said. "I couldn't find it. Basically it was a fight all day."

For Woods, an answer for why his swing was off and why he couldn't put together his third straight round with a score in the 60s wasn't immediately clear. But he did say he was sure it wasn't because it was the first time in a long time that he'd been in contention on moving day.

"I felt very comfortable out there," Woods said. "I've been there so many times. I saw most of the guys were at 3-under par or better through nine holes and felt like the course was definitely getable."

Woods is now trailing leader Troy Merritt -- who set a course record with a 61 in his third round -- by nine strokes, meaning the chances of him winning his first tournament since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational are a lot slimmer than they were Saturday morning. For those who travelled to Gainesville wishing to see glimpses of the old Tiger Woods, that's tough news to hear.

Even more unsettling for those Woods watchers, though, is having to wonder whether this version of Woods -- the one who teases us with a couple of quality shots only to follow them with bad ones -- is the one we'll see during the rest of his career. Some thought QLN would be the place where Tiger finally turned things around after a strong Thursday and Friday, but that doesn't look like it'll be the case anymore.

And if he keeps on this path that he's headed, there will be fewer and fewer fans like the one from the second hole yelling, "That's the old Tiger Woods!" after his best shots, simply because those memories will just keep falling further and further into the back of our minds.

MORE FROM QUICKEN LOANS NATIONAL: Merritt sets a course record

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

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Golf Channel

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

Tiger Woods carded a front-nine five-over-par 41 during his first round of the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

It looked bad from the very beginning as he pulled an iron off the first tee into the fescue on the left and grimaced.

That's not just any "Aw shucks, I hit it in the rough" grimace. That's the grimace of a 43-year-old with a fused spine playing golf in cold, windy and rainy weather after not playing competitive golf since the U.S. Open about a month ago.

Woods said that the chilly, damp weather at Pebble Beach made it difficult for him to get loose during the U.S. Open, which would make it a fair assumption that the 15-time major winner is struggling with his back in similar weather at Royal Portrush.

But if there's anybody who can overcome physical issues on the course, it's Tiger Woods. He did, after all, win the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg. He seemed to weather the storm with a world-class par on the first after two poor shots. He had makeable birdie opportunities on the second and third holes, but missed both.

Then the squares on the scorecard came. Woods went bogey, double-bogey, bogey, par, bogey, bogey between the fifth and 10th holes. He hasn't looked particularly comfortable at any point during the round.

That reality has drawn reactions from just about everybody watching. 

It hasn't gone much better for Big Cat since. As somebody who moves the needle more than anybody else in the sport, nobody wants to watch him play like this. There's still some time left in Round 1, but things aren't looking good for Woods.

2019 Open Championship: How to watch, TV Channel, Tee Times, Groupings, Odds

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USA Today Sports Images

2019 Open Championship: How to watch, TV Channel, Tee Times, Groupings, Odds

For the first time in 68 years, the golfing world will convene in Northern Ireland for a major championship, as Royal Portrush Golf Club will host the 148th Open Championship.

The final major of the season will provide an unfamiliar test for players of all ranks, as many have never before played this links course nestled along the northern Irish coast.

Rory McIlroy will be competing for a major title in his home country for the first time. The world No. 3 is having one of his strongest seasons in recent memory, winning two tournaments and finishing inside the top-10 at the most recent two majors. McIlroy, looking for his first major title since 2014, is the betting favorite in Vegas (8-1). Why not win the next one on home soil?

As with any major, all eyes will be on Tiger Woods. He has never played Royal Portrush, but his three Open Championship titles illustrate that he knows how to win across the pond. Woods has not teed it up for a competitive round since last month's U.S. Open, but many will anticipate a strong showing this weekend.

World No. 1 Brooks Koepka will continue to be a favorite in every major until he proves otherwise. The bomber has won four major titles since June of 2017 and has finished no worse than runner-up in this year's three previous major championships. Although his results have fallen off since his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open last month, Koepka can never be counted out on the big stage.

With many other tantalizing storylines and plenty of golfers with a realistic chance to win this week, sit back, relax and watch as many hours of golf as you can:

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP HOW TO WATCH:

What: The 148th Open Championship

When: Thursday, July 18th – Sunday, 21st

Where: Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland

DAY 1 COVERAGE (Thursday, July 18):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 1:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Golf Channel)

DAY 2 COVERAGE (Friday, July 19):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 1:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Golf Channel)

DAY 3 COVERAGE (Saturday, July 20):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 5 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. (NBC)

DAY 4 COVERAGE (Sunday, July 21):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 4 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. (NBC)

All four rounds of the tournament can also be streamed online at GolfChannel.com, TheOpen.com and NBCSports.com.

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST ROUND TEE TIMES (ET), GROUPINGS (ALL OFF No. 1):

1:35 a.m. -- Darren Clarke, James Sugrue (a), Charley Hoffman
1:46 a.m. -- Emiliano Grillo, Sung Kang, Thomas Thurloway (a)
1:57 a.m. -- Andy Sullivan, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Alexander Levy
2:08 a.m. -- Chan Kim, Zander Lombard, Brandon Wu (a)
2:19 a.m. -- Richard Sterne, Romain Langasque, Matthias Schmid (a)
2:30 a.m. -- Padraig Harrington, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andrew Putnam
2:41 a.m. -- Bubba Watson, Eddie Pepperell, Rafa Cabrera-Bello
2:52 a.m. -- Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Branden Grace
3:03 a.m. -- Alex Noren, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Sam Locke
3:14 a.m. -- Webb Simpson, C.T. Pan, Sergio Garcia
3:25 a.m. -- Ryan Palmer, Andrea Pavan, Dylan Frittelli
3:36 a.m. -- Kyle Stanley, Andrew Johnston, Robert Macintyre
3:47 a.m. -- Mikko Korhonen, Oliver Wilson, Curtis Knipes (a)
4:03 a.m. -- Ian Poulter, Sungjae Im, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
4:14 a.m. -- Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, Graeme McDowell
4:25 a.m. -- Haotong Li, Russell Knox, Bernd Wiesberger
4:36 a.m. -- Jason Kokrak, Connor Syme, Austin Connelly
4:47 a.m. -- Zach Johnson, David Duval, Corey Conners
4:58 a.m. -- Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott
5:09 a.m. -- Rory McIlroy, Gary Woodland, Paul Casey
5:20 a.m. -- Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner
5:31 a.m. -- Jim Furyk, Si Woo Kim, Jimmy Walker
5:42 a.m. -- Luke List, Alexander Bjork, Paul Waring
5:53 a.m. -- Shugi Imahira, Nate Lashley, Benjamin Hebert
6:04 a.m. -- Mikumu Horikawa, Callum Shinkwin, Garrick Porteous
6:15 a.m. -- Prom Meesawat, Matthew Baldwin, Jack Senior
6:36 a.m. -- Tom Lehman, Joaquin Niemann, Miguel Angel Jimenez
6:47 a.m. -- Ben An, Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood
6:58 a.m. -- Joel Dahmen, Adri Arnaus, Dimitrios Papadatos
7:09 a.m. -- Stewart Cink, Rory Sabbatini, Innchoon Hwang
7:20 a.m. -- Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Jake McLeod
7:31 a.m. -- Ryan Fox, Shaun Norris, Dongkyu Jang
7:42 a.m. -- Tyrrell Hatton, Keith Mitchell, Thomas Pieters
7:53 a.m. -- Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjorn Olesen
8:04 a.m. -- Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Shubhankar Sharma
8:15 a.m. -- Billy Horschel, Aaron Wise, Jazz Janewattananond
8:26 a.m. -- Jordan Spieth, Danny Willett, Marc Leishman
8:37 a.m. -- Cameron Smith, Adam Hadwin, David Lipsky
8:48 a.m. -- Paul Lawrie, Chez Reavie, Justin Harding
9:04 a.m. -- Takumi Kanaya (a), Tom Lewis, Brandon Stone
9:15 a.m. -- Lucas Glover, Joost Luiten, Nino Bertasio
9:26 a.m. -- Ernie Els, J.B. Holmes, Abraham Ancer
9:37 a.m. -- Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Brian Harman
9:48 a.m. -- Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Lucas Bjerregaard
9:59 a.m. -- Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley
10:10 a.m. -- Tiger Woods, Matt Wallace, Patrick Reed
10:21 a.m. -- Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Matt Kuchar
10:32 a.m. -- Kevin Streelman, Doc Redman, Robert Rock
10:43 a.m. -- Adrian Otaegui, Yuta Ikeda, Isidro Benitez
10:54 a.m. -- Patton Kizzire, Sang Hyun Park, Yuki Inamori
11:05 a.m. -- Yoshinori Fujimoto, Doyeob Mun, Andrew Wilson
11:16 a.m. -- Gunn Charoenjul, Yosuke Asaji, Ashton Turner

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP TOP-10 ODDS & NOTABLES (as of July 16th):

Rory McIlroy: 8-1
Brooks Koepka: 10-1
Dustin Johnson: 16-1
John Rahm: 16-1
Tiger Woods: 16-1
Justin Rose: 20-1
Francesco Molinari: 25-1
Xander Schauffele: 25-1
Henrik Stenson: 28-1
Tommy Fleetwood: 28-1
Justin Thomas: 30-1
Matt Kuchar: 30-1
Rickie Fowler: 30-1
Jordan Spieth: 35-1
Phil Mickelson: 100-1