After solid morning, Woods goes backward when third round begins at Whistling Straits

By Nancy Armour, AP
Saturday, August 14, 2010

Woods struggling in third round at PGA

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Tiger Woods is making a move at the PGA Championship — just not in the direction he wants.

After pulling within five strokes of leader Matt Kuchar when the second round was completed Saturday morning, Woods backed up in the third round. He blew birdie chances on each of his first three holes, and bogeyed his next two. And in the surest sign of trouble, he was muttering to himself before he finished the fourth hole.

Woods made the turn at 3 over for the day, even par for the tournament. That’s nine strokes behind Nick Watney, who birdied his first two holes to move ahead of Kuchar.

Also making a charge was Rory McIlroy, who tied for third at the British Open after matching a major championship record with a 63 in the opening round. The Northern Irishman had three birdies in his first five holes, and was at 8 under. Joining him were Dustin Johnson, best known for his epic collapse at Pebble Beach, Kuchar and 2003 U.S. Open champ Jim Furyk.

But the round of the day — so far, at least — belonged to Lian Wen-Chong. The Chinese golfer, who plays mostly on the European tour, was at 6 under after five birdies in his first nine holes.

After two days of wind, rain and fog wreaked havoc on the tee times at Whistling Straits, conditions were just about perfect Saturday afternoon.

“With the dots where they are for this afternoon, there’s some really tough pins, but there’s some pretty accessible pins,” Woods said before the round began. “Pins that you can take, be pretty aggressive at. You’ll probably see some pretty good scores this afternoon.”

So far, his isn’t one of them.

Woods left a 20-foot birdie putt short on No. 1. He drove into the left rough on par-5 No. 2, but made a great recovery and left himself 10 feet for birdie. But the putt ran alongside the right edge of the cup and refused to drop. As the crowd groaned, Woods rubbed the back of his neck.

There was trouble off the fourth tee, as Woods drove into the deep rough on the left side of the hole. He tried to jam his driver head first into his bag, but even that wouldn’t drop.

He punched into the middle of the fairway, and still had a chance to save par with a 15-footer from above the hole. But it ran past the hole, too. Woods stood there glaring, his hand on his hip, for a few moments before tapping in for bogey, his first in 12 holes.

will not be displayed