By Jeff Shain and Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune –
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods did not drop-kick his 9-iron Saturday. He didn’t rally, either.
The four-time Masters champion spun his wheels with an even-par 72, playing his final 14 holes without a birdie. That left him at 3 over, 12 shots behind leader Peter Hanson, and a far cry from his victory lap at Bay Hill.
Well, not according to Woods.
“I’m telling you, it was so close to being a really good round of golf,” he said. “I just didn’t take care of the opportunities when I had them.”
Woods birdied two of his first four holes Saturday but gave back both strokes by the turn. He parred the entire back nine.
“It’s just so frustrating,” he said.
For the second consecutive day, Woods failed to birdie any of Augusta National’s par-5s. Before this year, that had happened just twice in 17 previous Masters visits. Over those 17 years, he was 133 under par on those four holes.
At least the frustration didn’t boil over as it did Friday, when TV microphones picked up several blue outbursts and Woods kicked his 9-iron after a poor shot at No.16.
“I apologize if I offended anybody by that,” Woods said some 20 hours after the fact. “I certainly heard that people didn’t like me kicking the club, but I didn’t like it either. And it didn’t feel good on my toe.”
Thorn in his side: Justin Rose surged to within two shots of the lead with four birdies … and then gave it all back. His low point came on No. 16, when his tee shot left him a 50-foot uphill putt that climbed the hill and then slid back down. Three additional putts left him with a double-bogey.
“That’s a terrible place to try to two-putt from,” he said. “I ended up four-putting, and then I guess my mind was racing.”
Chip-ins: Padraig Harrington caught fire on the back, birdieing Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18 to shoot 68 and get to 4 under for the tournament. “That’s very much what Augusta is like,” he said. “When things are going (well), take your chances. Because you’ll (also) have some go against you, and you have to make up for those dropped shots.” … Luke Donald knocked in an eagle 2 from 80 yards out on No. 3 but still shot a 3-over 75 … Gary Woodland withdrew with a left wrist injury after shooting a third-round 85. He said he felt a surge of pain after a swing on No. 8 and “my caddie was begging me to stop. But I worked too hard to get here.”