CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee at 5 under par, and everyone at Carnoustie knew the importance of the occasion.
In 2018, 10 years after his last major victory and one year after fusion surgery, Woods had for a few minutes ascended to the top of the Open leaderboard, and the Scottish masses were thrilled. They wanted to see him get the stellar round in the house.
Woods went with iron off the tee and promptly hit what he called his only bad swing of the day. He watch his ball head left, toward the home hole’s infamous Barry Burn. The ball hit an inch from trouble and, instead of kicking left into the burn, bounced right into some thick rough.
Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship
Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship
“That was the kind of break you need,” NBC’s Johnny Miller said on the telecast. “I’m surprised it didn’t bounce left. All in all, a great break.”
A good 250 yards from the hole and concerned about potentially flirting with the burn in front of the green, Woods bunted up the fairway and left himself 83 yards for his third shot.
He then flew a wedge to 3 feet and made the putt to save par and shoot 66.
“I had an angle at that flag,” Woods said about his approach. “I figured just this nice little one like I practice in the backyard. And I hit my number.”
“That was big for me just to not finish with two bogeys on the last three holes, playing as well as I did,” he said.