- US PGA Championship
The world's best find the going toughAugust 10, 2013
They came to Oak Hill Country Club with plenty of hype and understandable attention. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were coming off big victories and were in their long-held positions of Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the world. A major duel certainly seemed intriguing.
But after three days of lacklustre golf - neither player has managed to break par through 54 holes - they'll be relegated to dew sweepers on Sunday during the final round of the US PGA Championship.
As frustrating as Woods' 3-over-par 73 was during the third round, Mickelson's 78 was worse. Both players had faint hopes of getting back into the tournament with solid rounds, only to be undone with shoddy play early in their rounds that could not be reversed.
Rory's rousing finish
- The fist pumps returned, and so did the smiles. It seems forever ago that Rory McIlroy appeared so engaged on a golf course, and he was certainly an interested spectator after his 67 jumped him up the leaderboard on Saturday, others left to struggle on a suddenly difficult Oak Hill Country Club.
Defending his PGA Championship this week, McIlroy actually gave himself an outside chance to repeat on Sunday with a rousing finish that had him pumped up and wondering where such vibes had gone through a mostly disappointing year. "It was good to feel the sort of rush again,'' he said.
That has certainly been absent in a winless year that has seen him miss four cuts, endure a controversial withdrawal, post four top-10s but not really contend since a runner-up finish in April at the Texas Open.
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"Well, it was hard for me," Woods said. "I didn't play very well today. I didn't hit very good, didn't make anything, kept blocking every putt. So it was a tough day."
Woods appeared frustrated almost from the outset, missing the first fairway with a 5-wood and then quickly slashing a chip shot out of the rough that led to a bogey. He also bogeyed the third hole, made his only birdie at the 11th, then added two more bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17 to finish 54 holes at 3-over 213.
Coming off a victory a week ago at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational where he shot a second-round 61 and won by seven strokes, Woods seemed poised to at least contend for his 15th major championship. Instead, his major drought that dates to the 2008 US Open will grow to 18 in which he has played.
"That's golf," said Woods, who has yet to break 70 in the weekend round of any major championship during the past two years. "We don't play well every week. Unfortunately I happened to get that this week."
Woods, who is ranked No. 1 in the world and has won five times this year, suggested a flaw in his takeaway was making things difficult, and he worked on it extensively with his swing coach, Sean Foley, on Friday after the second round.
"Consequently the whole patterning is off," Woods said. "Just one of those weeks where it's just a fraction off, and a fraction off on a setup like this, it's going to cost me." Woods hit just 5 of 14 fairways and only 11 of 18 greens Saturday, taking 32 putts.
Mickelson, ranked second in the world after his Open Championship victory three weeks ago -- his third win of the year - struggled worse, taking 34 putts after also hitting just 5 of 14 fairways to go with 12 greens. But he had a triple-bogey, a double-bogey and five bogeys. Twice he had shots from the rough where he barely advanced the ball.
Afterwards, Mickelson did not speak to reporters, although he signed autographs. He was in 74th place, one shot ahead of last-place Gary Woodland.