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Uncharacteristically, Tiger Woods has not stood out from the crowd this week at Carnoustie. (Photo: Getty Images)
Uncharacteristically, Tiger Woods has not stood out from the crowd this week at Carnoustie. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tiger resigned to play the hand he's dealt himself

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His 69 Saturday was certainly better than the unsightly 74 he posted on Friday, even if he did conk a 60-year-old woman on the head with one shot. Still, Tiger Woods finds himself trailing after 54 holes at a major, and we know what that means.

By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.com Correspondent

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Better, but not great.

Brilliant, yet frustrating.

Closer. But close enough?

And about that never coming from behind to win a major ...

Tiger Woods didn't need to hear the questions Saturday afternoon. He could have teed them up and knocked them into the North Sea one by one without any help, thank you.

His 69 was better than Friday's round, but full of too many almosts for the benign scoring conditions. His shots? Alternately brilliant or linksy-bouncy, like the one that hit 60-year-old spectator Jennifer Wilson on the sixth hole. His putting? Fabulous. But he was still six shots back when he walked off the course and eight behind leader Sergio Garcia at the end of the day.

And that never stat?

"Well, I'm in the position I've dealt myself," he said. "I need to play well tomorrow and hopefully get the title."

Yes, we know anything can happen in a major. Especially one as tied to the weather as the Open Championship. As for Tiger's position? Well, he pointed out that Paul Lawrie came from 10 shots back at Carnoustie Golf Links in 1999.

So you know what will be on his mind as the 136th Open comes to a close Sunday.

"It's a major championship; you just hang in there and grind it," Tiger said. "It's a long way to go."

Tiger was five shots better than Friday's second round. He started slow, but in the midst of what could have been a four-birdie run on the front, his approach shot at the sixth hole hit Wilson on the left side of the head. He apologized to her and gave her a glove.

"It was terrible," he said. "I wasn't trying to hit it over there, that's for sure. I saw the ball bounce out and figured it had to have hit somebody. And unfortunately I went over there and the lady was bleeding all over the place. I felt really bad.

"I've done that before. You don't ever feel good about it. You have kind of a pit in your stomach and hopefully you didn't hurt someone too bad. She was smiling. I don't know how she was smiling. But I just apologized the best I could."

He parred the hole, then came back with another birdie. The back nine? He bogeyed the 10th, birdied the 14th and left himself on the wrong side too many times on the way in.

"It's a major, and the conditions have been a little bit frustrating," he said, "If you're off, you're going to be penalized. Today pins were a little more difficult than they were the first two days. "

Who knows what Sunday will bring. All we know for sure is Tiger's on the board, the forecast isn't good and ... well, it's Carnoustie. And Tiger will be grinding.

"I'm not as pleased as I'd like to be, for sure," he said. "But I've got myself in contention. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be a little sharper, and maybe I can putt just as well."

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