Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club

The Loop

Soltau: Woods Says 68 Could Not Have Been Higher

April 12, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- No matter what happens Sunday in the 72nd Masters Tournament--and the forecast calls for temperatures in the low 60s and 20-mile-per-hour winds--Tiger Woods has the attention of the leaders. Had his putter cooperated Saturday, he might have been playing in the last group.

Woods' bogey-free, four-under-par 68--his best score at Augusta since a third-round 65 in 2005--vaulted him from a tie for 13th place to fifth, six strokes behind leader Trevor Immelman. But for the second consecutive round, Woods couldn't solve the greens, taking 31 putts.

"It was probably the highest score I could have shot," said Woods.

Let us count some of the missed opportunities: from 25 feet for eagle at No. 2, 16 feet at No. 7, eight feet at No. 8, 20 feet at No. 9, 25 feet at No. 12, 30 feet at No. 13 and eight feet at No. 15. Woods buried a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-4 10th--by far his longest putt of the week. The next-longest was an eight-footer for par at No. 1 on Thursday.

"I hit so many putts that skirted the hole," he said.

At the short par-4 third hole, Woods hit a big drive just short of the green, then clipped a 60-degree sand wedge near the pin, only to see it spin back 30 feet. Woods lobbed the iron at his bag, then left the birdie putt short. But instead of fuming while playing partner Andres Romero putted out, Woods walked to the edge of the green, tossed up grass to see which way the wind was blowing on the par-3 fourth hole, and did mental math on what club to hit.

"You just have to hang in there, because anything can happen out here," said Woods. "You can shoot yourself right out of it and you can put yourself right back in it."

Woods has won 13 professional major titles, including four green jackets; Immelman's best finish in a major is a tie for fifth at Augusta National in 2005.

Woods has never won a major starting from behind on Sunday, but the leaders--Immelman, Brandt Snedeker, Steve Flesch and Paul Casey--have zero major victories among them.

--Mark Soltau