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Tiger Woods hits his second shot on the 14th hole after nearly driving the green on the 373 yard par 4.
Tiger Woods hits his second shot on the 14th hole after nearly driving the green on the 373 yard par 4. (Photo: E. M. Pio Roda / PGA.com)

Camera click, slow play contribute to Tiger's woes

If it wasn't a balky putter, it was a camera click or slow play warning that kept Tiger Woods from making one of his patented charges at the 86th PGA Championship at vulnerable Whistling Straits.

By Barry Pump, Special to PGA.com

KOHLER, Wisc. (PGA.com) -- Tiger Woods posted a second straight 3-under par 69 Saturday at the 86th PGA Championship, but the world's best player was unglued by a camera click and never regained his focus at a benign Whistling Straits.

Woods started his round with birdies on Nos. 2, 3 and 5 to move to 3-under immediately, but when a camera clicked as he addressed his ball on the seventh green and caused him to reset his stance, a bogey was all he could muster.

"It's happened three times this week, and it's cost me four shots," Woods said. "It gets you completely out of rhythm. You're not used to hearing cameras go off when you're playing golf. And I should get my focus back, but I didn't do it."

Playing with Niclas Fasth in the third round, Woods was put on the clock for slow play on the sixth hole, which further complicated the rest of his round.

"I couldn't waste time and put my club back and start my whole routine all over again," Woods said of his reset on No. 7. "I had to get up and go, and I hit a poor shot."

Woods said his bogey on the par-3 was the turning point of his game, despite making the turn at 3-under. While having birdie opportunities through holes 12-14, Woods said he couldn't capitalize on easy pin placements and greens hit in regulation.

"I felt like I played well, I just didn't keep it going," he said. "You try to keep it going, as easy as some of these pins were. There were five or six pins where it was very easy to make birdies, and I didn't make birdies on all of them.

"If I had kept the momentum going and posted a good back nine, I would have been right back in this thing."

With players like Steve Flesch firing a 5-under par 67 to move to 4-under for the tournament, Woods knew that favorable conditions and another generous course setup would make a comeback on the last day difficult.

"I'm going to need some help," he said. "Hopefully, the hurricane in Florida will all of a sudden make a little veer and come up here real quick. I'm definitely going to need some help for these guys not to run away.

"It wouldn't surprise me if the leaders where 3- or 4-under par on the front nine. Some of the holes are pretty accessible and easy to get to."

Flesch agreed.

"The main thing is that the greens are still very soft and receptive to shots," he said, "so that's why I think you're still seeing good numbers out here."

Getting to the greens has not been an issue for Woods, who hit all but three in regulation on Saturday. It's been his play on the greens that has been a problem. Woods had just a single one-putt, on the 11th - his only birdie on the back nine.

"When your mechanics aren't down, it's hard to get speed and direction," he said. "I haven't putted that badly. But it's pretty bad when you're contemplating doing what (Mark Calcavecchia) did and switch nine different grips in one round. I wasn't feeling very good at all. I went back and did some work on Thursday, and I got it back and I putted great yesterday."

With strong southerly winds predicted for Sunday's final round, Woods hopes that his driver will get him back in the tournament.

"It's what I have to have in order to get back into this tournament and have a great round of golf," he said. "I need some help from the leaders today to not go out and shoot five or six under par. If Vijay (Singh) or Justin (Leonard) goes out and shoots 5- or 6-under par and goes 14- or 15-under par, it's going to be out of reach."

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