DUBLIN, Ohio, June 7 (Reuters) - It was far from vintage Tiger Woods but at least the 14-times major champion rebounded on Sunday at the Memorial Tournament to beat his third round score by 11 shots. A day after posting a career-worst 13-over 85 at Muirfield Village, Woods scratched out a two-over 74, showing glimpses of good form but once again countering it with plenty of bad.
Buoyed by hitting nine of 14 fairways, the most of the week, Woods had five birdies in his round and at one stage looked like he may have turned a corner at three-under through 12 holes. But two bogeys and two double bogeys on his last six once again exposed flaws in the former world number one.
The 39-year-old remained last in the tournament at 14-over 302, the worst 72-hole total of his career, but was pleased with some aspects of Sunday’s play. “Today was a lot better ball‑striking wise but I didn’t finish off very good,” he told reporters.
”Today was what I’ve been doing on the driving range and that was finally nice to see. I got a solidness back, I was hitting the driver with both shapes, cuts and draws,” Woods said.
Woods admitted Saturday’s 85, only the third time he had failed to break 80, was a humbling experience. But he insisted it was a necessary pain as he continues to go through swing changes with coach Chris Como. With his next start the U.S. Open coming on June 18 time is running out to get it right if he is to halt his major winning drought, which will hit the seven-year mark if he cannot win at Chambers Bay.
“I was changing a few things and I was stuck right between patterns and I had to go through yesterday. I had to go through those painful moments, just like I did at Torrey and Phoenix to be able to make the leap I did at Augusta,” Woods said.
“Yesterday was the same thing. It was just unfortunately on a golf course like this where you can’t get away with much. It kicked my butt pretty hard.” Woods will take a few days off to let a blister on his left index finger heel before ramping up his major preparations. “Hopefully, in two weeks time things will be a lot better and I’ll be ready to try to win a U.S. Open,” he said.
Editing by Ed Osmond