Golf

Tiger Woods score: Early chipping woes put him in last place at 2018 Hero World Challenge

It’s been a weird week for Tiger Woods who, after three rounds at the 2018 Hero World Challenge, sits in last place at 2 under for the week. His undoing has been mostly blow-up scores (we’ll get to that in a minute), and he’ll have to have a monster Sunday to approach what he did last season when he finished T9 here in his first competitive event in nearly a year. Let’s take a quick look at his even-par 72 on Saturday.

Front nine (1-over 37): Woods bogeyed the second hole and doubled the third as he left two chips short of the green and they rolled back down to his feet. He recovered with birdies at the other two par 5s on the front nine, but the damage had been done at an event where you need to be close to 20 under par to win.

Back nine (1-under 35): Two more bogeys on the back nine were wedged between three birdies, which helped Woods at least right the ship. The best of the birds was probably a delicious iron shot into the par-3 17th that got him back to even on the day for just the third of his first 17 holes.

What went well: Tiger isn’t hitting it terribly. I know that doesn’t exactly scream “what went well!” but we’re looking for positives here for somebody who’s in last place at the moment. I’d be a lot more concerned if he was just putrid with his long stuff. Instead, it’s the short game that’s bit him.

What went poorly: The chipping has been bad. And Saturday represented the third straight round in which he’s notched a double or worse. Take those away (easy for me to say) and Woods is right in the middle of this thing. We’ve seen him struggle with chipping before at this tournament, and I’m going to lose exactly zero minutes of sleep over it, but two of his three ballooned scores so far this week have been because of some absolutely atrocious chips.

Quote of the day: I’ll go off the board a little bit because the play was so mediocre on Saturday. Following the death of former president George H.W. Bush, Woods, who has unique insight into a lot of presidents’ golf lives, was asked about him.

Stat of the day: Tiger is the only golfer this week to not break par at least twice in the first three rounds.

Where he stands: Woods is in 18th, one back of Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day, who are T16 and about a dozen back of the lead. He can’t win, but he can still have a respectable showing if his game comes together on Sunday.

What’s next: Woods will have the earliest tee time of the day on Sunday and be paired with either Day or Matsuyama for his final round of 2018.

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