The PGA Championship

Tiger anything but tickled at Oak Hill

Woods' major hopes dimmed considerably after 73 drops world No. 1 to 9-over at PGA Championship

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- The bad breaks kept piling up for Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship on Saturday.

Woods shot a 3-over-par 73 in the third round of the year's last major tournament, ballooning his overall score to 9-over 219. That seriously dimmed his chances of avoiding his first Grand Slam shutout since 1998.

At least Woods' demeanor appeared to change, as he managed a few more smiles after spending the previous two days wearing a stone-faced look.

"The reason why we're laughing is because every shot we hit is going to get a bad break," Woods said. "It's just one thing after another and you start laughing at it. Just what else can go wrong?"

Woods' round would have been even worse if not for his putting, which saved him on several holes.

After opening with four bogeys on the front nine, Woods recovered with consecutive birdies on Nos. 14 and 15, before ending with a bogey at the 18th.

The two birdies doubled his total for the tournament.

Woods shrugged his shoulders when asked about the growing possibility that he will have failed to win a major in six straight appearances, and go a full season without winning one.

"I've done it before," Woods said. "It won't be the last time, and it certainly has not been the first time. You're going to go years where you don't win. That's OK, as long as you keep trying to improve."

Following a morning rain and with slightly cooler temperatures, Oak Hill played a little easier Saturday after baring its teeth under muggy conditions in the 80s.

Woods was in the clubhouse before second-round leader Shaun Micheel and Billy Andrade teed off in the final pairing.

The little-known Micheel moved into position to become this year's fourth first-time major winner with a 2-under 68 Friday, to put him 3 under for the tournament. Andrade began the day one off the pace in a tie with Masters champion Mike Weir.

"Someone's going to have to win," Micheel said Friday. "I've played in enough golf tournaments now as a professional that I feel like maybe I'm ready to do something."

Micheel has started 163 tournaments and his best finish was a tie for third in the 2002 B.C. Open. And yet he outplayed the strongest field of the year Friday, ending his round with birdies on four of his last five holes.

Phil Mickelson, the first-round co-leader with Rod Pampling, had a 5-over 75 and was one of those tied at 141. The left-hander is known as the best player never to win a major and his chance to finally win one is still alive, just not in as good as shape as he was after the first round.

"I'm a couple of shots off the lead heading into the weekend, and I feel like I'm playing pretty well," Mickelson said.

Micheel is in his fourth season on the PGA Tour. He has two victories as a professional, the 1999 Greensboro Open on the Buy.com Tour and a 1998 Asian Tour event in Singapore.

He's not exactly Ben Curtis, who won the British Open last month in his first major appearance, but Micheel fits in with the PGA Championship tradition of having produced 44 first-time major winners in its 84 previous editions.

As for Curtis, he finished at 11-over 151, missing the cut by three strokes.

He was disappointed but took it in stride.

"Ah, 50 percent, so I'll take it," Curtis said, referring to his career winning percentage in major tournaments.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Western New York PGA SectionGreater Rochester Visitors Association, Inc.

©2003 The PGA of America / Ryder Cup limited / Turner Sports Interactive. All rights reserved.
Turner Entertainment Digital Network PGA.COM is part of Bleacher Report - Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network.

Send all feedback / comments to webmaster.pga@turner.com. Sales inquiries contact sales.pga@turner.com.
PGA.com Privacy Policy / Terms of Use.