AUGUSTA, Ga. – Saturday is called a running day in the Masters Tournament because it is when high-performance golfers try to push the leaderboard to position themselves for a championship charge in Sunday’s final round.
That ax proved to be true for Australia’s Cameron Smith, whose four-under par 68 on Saturday moved him within three shots, third round leader Scottie Scheffler, who shot a determined and solid one-under par 71.
But Saturday was also something else: A day to change the spotlight.
From where Tiger Woods arrived at the Augusta National Prefecture Range last weekend, he dominated all talk about the 2022 tournament and drew a large gallery of spectators who were chasing after holes as if someone in the field. Not worth the other golfer.
But on Saturday afternoon, as Woods rolled through 18 holes and worked hard and fell 16 shots behind Scheffler, the focus of this year’s Masters changed.
Woods, who scored 78 on a day when temperatures fell into the 40s, was far from being on the golf course. But a special sense of fact was also established and he crossed seven overs for the tournament and went into the tie for 41st place.
Woods’ return to competitive golf after a catastrophic car accident nearly 14 months ago is inspiring and charming and by no means a surprise. But as the third round came to a close, it became apparent that Woods’ return would be in line this week. Since the beginning of his third term, Woods’ surgically repaired back has been hard to find, and crossing several mountains and mountains of Augusta National seems especially acute on his resurfaced right leg and leg. General Chat Chat Lounge
Most amazingly, her enormous power – her stroking stroke, which has been the envy of her peers for a quarter century – has given her so much. Woods made his last three holes a three-son and had another four-son on the other hole.
After Woods became the 18th hole on Saturday and away from the public eye, his tactics got worse. He sat on a foot high platform to address journalists and answered a question about the health of his back, which has been operated on five times.
“It’s not as lumbery and thick as it usually is, that’s for sure,” he said.
But Woods, 46, knows why he’s getting so close. While he has not always wanted to live his life as a role model in Spotlight, this week he is not shying away from that mood. Asked what he expects of showing to sports fans at this year’s Masters, he replied: “Never give up. Always pursue your dreams. And I fight every day. Every day is a challenge. Every day presents its own unique challenges for us – I just go and start the war again.
Woods’ troubles started on Saturday when he played reasonably well during his first four holes, finishing in two innings, a bogey and a birdie. But on the fifth hole, he clearly surprised after hitting a middle iron shot from 192 yards. His ball settled at 65 feet from the hole, at a distance Woods struggled to negotiate a stunning four-putt, which included a third son four feet away, who made a nearly complete revolution around the hole before making an exit. General Chat Chat Lounge On the ninth hole was another three-man, set up by a vicious approach shot, which struck Woods’ ball 60 feet above the hole.
Woods had recovered 12th and 13th holes with the backward bird and two minor crosses on the next hole. But three more off-target approach shots went for two bogeys and one double bogey on his three closing holes – and nine more putts.
“It’s just as if I hit a thousand pot there today on the vegetable,” said Woods, who spent part of his previous term smiling sarcastically at his misfortune. “I was trying different things, trying to find them, trying to get some. And nothing seems to work. “
Scheffler opened his opening nine holes as he planned to go down with a tournament on Saturday. He spread the second, third, sixth and eighth holes, which allowed him to retain the five-stroke lead he held after Friday’s second round. Schaeffler, the world-class male athlete, needed those early heroes to stay ahead of Charlotte Schwartzel, who played her first 10 holes underneath you to come in second.
But Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters Champion, fumbled with four back-to-back freshmen. Smith, though, continued the sterling game he featured in winning last month’s Players Championship when he closed with the Braves at both back-end par-5s.
Scheffler largely avoided the closing hole on Saturday when he fired three shots into the woods along Fairway. Forced to take a photo and a stroke leap, Schaeffler then hit a long shot of iron on the sloping hill of the 18th hole that went down on the green but just slipped over. Scheffler successfully planted a delicate chip under the cliff and gave a three-foot fall to the goat, which he carried.
Woods has been impressed with Scheffler, who has won three times this year on the PGA Tour.
“We all want us to have this two-, three-month window when we’re warm – and hopefully have a window somewhere in that window,” Woods said. “We take care of that in those windows. It looks like Scooty is currently in the window.
Sungjae Im was fourth in the tournament for four under par and five strokes behind Sheffler. Shane Lowry was coming off two innings after 73 runs in the third period.