The Loop

Tiger's putting woes erode his chances

July 17, 2010

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland - The new putter might not want to get too comfortable in the bag of Tiger Woods.

Woods shot his second consecutive 73 at the British Open on Saturday at the Old Course. But unlike Friday's solid one-over-par round in miserable conditions, Saturday's effort during the third round was a disappointment.

"I hit it good today," Woods said. "I striped it all day. I just didn't get anything out of the round. I couldn't build any momentum, wasn't making any putts. And once I got it going just a little bit, I had back-to-back three-putts at 13 and 14."

Woods changed putters this week after more than a decade wielding a Scotty Cameron. He stopped short of blaming his new Nike Method 001 putter, but 35 putts on Saturday and 99 through three rounds have put his hopes of a third consecutive Open Championship on the Old Course in serious jeopardy.

"I putted well the first day," Woods said. "I made a lot. (Friday), obviously with the wind, I don't think anyone made a whole lot of putts. But today, the ball was oscillating a little, though it was certainly calmer than it was yesterday. I certainly should have had better speed than I did."

Woods appeared in good spirits all afternoon, even after taking an unplayable on the par-5 fifth hole when he hammered his 3-wood second shot into the gorse.

"It's one of those things where I stripe it right down the middle and I've got this slope I have to deal with," he said. "I thought I could get a 3-wood into the ball and from there I can two-putt from down at the base of the bowl. I started it probably about 40 yards left of the green and ended in the right gorse. A little bit of wind there."

Although it would likely take a spectacular round and then a dramatic fade from the leaders, Woods said he doesn't believe he's out of it.

"I'm playing well, playing better than obviously my position," he said. "I certainly have had a lot more putts on the greens (here) than I ever have, and that's something that has basically kept me out of being in the final few groups.

"You just don't know what the weather is going to do. As Louis (Oosthuizen) had it (Friday), he played 16 out of 18 holes down wind. You need to have things like that happen. Hopefully that will happen and I can get momentum going early."

-- John Marvel