PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club


Everything you missed from Tiger Woods' electrifying third-round 65 at Riviera

February 17, 2019
Genesis Open - Round Three

Keyur Khamar

After a 30-hole marathon Friday at Riviera, it looked like Tiger Woods might play just six holes on Saturday morning after carding a third straight bogey at the par-3 fourth—putting him in danger of his first missed cut of 2019.

The cut at the Genesis Open winded up being even par, but Woods felt a lot safer when he holed a 23-footer for birdie at the par-4 ninth to post a second-round 71, putting him at one under for the tournament. That all but guaranteed him 36 more holes—though, sitting 10 shots off the lead at the time, there wasn't much to be excited about.

But, as we often saw with Woods a year ago, he managed to flip the switch in his third round, which began at the 10th hole. With fans at Riviera still out in full force late Saturday evening, Woods proceeded to make a huge move up the leader board in a very short period of time, electrifying the crowd before play was called for darkness. Tiger was able to keep the rally going even in some chilly temperatures on Sunday morning, eventually finishing off a six-under 65 to get into a tie for 13th.

Here's everything you missed from Tiger's impressive third round.

Woods began the third round at the short par-4 10th, where he hit a high fade with his driver just left of the green. From there he chipped it to five feet and made the putt for birdie. A nice start, but it was his third time birdieing the 10th hole all week, so it was nothing to gush over. That would change at the 11th hole.

Tiger found the fairway at the par-5 11th and had just 250 left to a tucked right pin. He pulled out his 5-wood and hit by far his most majestic shot of the week, stopping his 5-wood nine feet away, to set up an eagle putt:

That got Woods to four under for the tournament, still well off the lead, but judging by the crowd's reaction, you would have thought he was a few shots back. The place got REALLY loud when he rolled in a 21-foot bomb for birdie at the par-4 12th:

Now he was really starting to cook, and he kept it rolling by hitting the fairway at the 13th, then striping a 6-iron from 190 yards to 14 feet. Aaaaand boom goes the dynamite:

A rare 3-3-3-3 start, and a much-better-looking quartet of threes compared to his four three-putts from his opening round Thursday. Both Woods and the gallery were feeling it:

Woods followed that start with three straight pars, and his rally was killed by the darkness, which suspended third-round play for the day.

When Woods came back on Sunday morning he made another par at the 17th and then another at 18 to finish off a front-nine 31. Check out the eerie scene at the 18th:

But the fans arrived just in time for the par-5 first, where Woods smashed a drive down the center of the fairway and, once again, played another majestic high cut into the green that set up another short eagle putt:

There is just something about Woods' high fade—cutting his shots at a high trajectory with incredible precision, that separate Tiger's high fade from everyone else's. That was Eagle No. 2 in the same round for Tiger, something he last did in the final round of the 2012 Honda Classic. Woods posted a 62 that day to leap 16 spots up the leader board and tie for second, two shots back of winner Rory McIlroy.

Unfortunately, Woods failed to make another birdie the rest of the way, and couldn't finish with a clean card. At the eighth hole he found a fairway bunker and his second shot hit the lip, leaving him with 111 yards to get up-and-down for par. He went on to make bogey, then finished with a par at the ninth for a six-under 65.

Meanwhile, leader Justin Thomas has continued his stellar play, reaching 17 under with plenty of holes left in his third round. Woods is at seven under, 10 back, so his big move up the leader board likely won't be enough to contend in the final round, barring something special. But Tiger's run in his third round—being 7-under through 10 holes at one point—was thrilling to watch, as is any low round from Woods.