7 Jun 2015

Tiger falls apart

12:51 pm on 7 June 2015

Tiger Woods has produced the worst round of golf in his professional career at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.

The 14-time major champion carded a 13-over-par 85 in his third round eclipsing his previous worst of 82 at the Phoenix Open earlier this year.

Tiger Woods during the third round of the Memorial Tournament, 2015.

Tiger Woods during the third round of the Memorial Tournament, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Just a day after making a clutch par putt to make the cut on the number, the five-time event champion managed just one birdie while carding six bogeys, two double bogeys and a quadruple bogey on the last.

"This is a sledgehammer to the side of the head," according to the six time major champion Nick Faldo.

"Tiger is going to walk away saying to himself, what am I going to do next? How do I pull this back. I'm not too sure he can handle all of this."

After back surgery last year, Woods was forced to reconstruct his swing, but Faldo believes the decline in his game is a result of mental gremlins more than anything physical.

"Three Masters ago, I was on the (practice) range watching Tiger hit beautiful fades and draws. He was hitting the ball fabulously. (Then) he walks to the first tee, two snap hooks.

"From that day on, I thought to myself, he's not comfortable, he's starting to fear shots. When you are fearing a shot before you hit it, we're all in serious trouble."

The round marked the third time in his professional career Woods had failed to break 80 after an 81 in the 2002 British Open.

The former world number one, who has slumped to 172nd in the global rankings, found water hazards four times.

As was the case over the opening two rounds he struggled to find fairways, getting just seven of 14, leaving him with 16 of 42 over three rounds

He sits 71st at 12-over par for the tournament, 24 shots off second round leader David Lingmerth.

American Zac Blair, playing with his idol for the first time, bested Woods by 15 shots.

"I've always wanted to play with him. As a little kid that was kind of my dream growing up but it was unfortunate to see him not play great," the 20-year-old Blair said.

"He's just kind of working through some things, obviously it takes some time to work through some swing changes and stuff like that.

"But he's the best player to ever play, in my opinion. He'll get back to playing good."

Woods' woes began with back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes and when he went from bunker to bunker on the par three eighth en route to a double bogey, the wheels were already coming off.

He took another double on nine after dumping his approach in the water, was wet again on the 11th, and by the 12th was eight over.

His fifth bogey came on the 14th hole when he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker before he managed his lone birdie on the par five 15th.

Any thought of a strong finish was denied when his approach on the 17th caught a tree and dropped into a creek, resulting in another bogey before absolute disaster struck on the last.

Taking a three-wood off the tee, Woods pulled his shot into another creek and after a drop could only muscle his ball short of the green.

He caught his chip shot heavy and watched his ball roll back down a steep slope and off the green. He chunked his next attempt into a bunker.

Unable to get up and down from the sand he was forced to take an eight, ensuring his worst ever score.

England's Justin Rose took a three-shot lead after the third round at Muirfield Village as he looked to become the sixth multiple winner of the event.

The 2010 champion fired a six-under 66 to catapult to 15-under-201 for the tournament.

That put the 2013 U.S. Open champion three clear of Italian Francesco Molinari (69) and Swedish overnight leader David Lingmerth (72) who shared second at 12-under.

American veteran Jim Furyk (70), also a former U.S. Open and Memorial winner, sits fourth at 11-under.