Woods and Mickelson stay stuck deep in pack
By Stan Awtrey, PGA.com Contributor
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The No. 1- and No. 2-ranked players in the world struggled again on Saturday, leaving the crowds at Oak Hill wondering what’s wrong with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. It served as a harsh reminder of what can happen with the best players don’t hit the fairway.
“That’s golf,” Woods said. “We don’t play well every week. Unfortunately, I happened to get that at what happened to be this week.”
Woods shot a 73 and Mickelson shot a 78, leaving both players far out of contention and starting in early in Sunday’s final round. Woods begins the last day at 4 over and Mickelson will start the final round at 10 over.
Woods missed the fairway with his first four drives and wound up hitting only five of 14 fairways. He hit 11 greens in regulation, but didn’t give himself many good looks at birdie. It took him until the 11th hole to get his first birdie.
“I kept blocking every putt,” Woods said. “I burned a few edges out there and it just wasn’t quite right.”
He was 3-for-7 on scrambles and needed 32 putts, giving him 91 for the week.
“I didn’t start off very good and I didn’t finish very good, so the bookends weren’t very good and in the middle part I was grinding just to kind of hang in there around par,” Woods said.
Mickelson’s round was reminiscent of his first round, when he had a pair of double bogeys. That would have been preferable to Saturday, when he posted a triple bogey and a double bogey. He shot a 39 on his final nine holes.
That 78 was Mickelson’s worst score at the PGA Championship since 1998 at Oak Tree. Barring a recovery – and he followed his previous 78 with a 67 – Mickelson is in line for his worst performance at the event since he finished 73rd in 2009 at Hazeltine.
Mickelson actually hit more greens in regulation on Saturday than he did on Friday, when he shot 71. But he hit just five of 14 fairways and when he missed, he missed badly. Only once in six tries was Mickelson able to scramble for par when he missed the green. His putting wasn’t great, either, as evidenced by 34 putts.