ATLANTA – Sweet fancy Moses! That might be southern slang or just something heard on “Seinfeld,” but, holy moly does it apply to what we witnessed from Tiger Woods early Saturday afternoon. Here are some things I think I think after Round 3 of the Tour Championship.
• I don’t just think that Tiger has a three-shot lead with one round to play. That’s a cold, hard fact. His 5-under 65 at East Lake could have been much lower, but it’s hard to complain when you go from co-leader to 3 up by day’s end. Take a look at this start:
Six birdies in his first seven holes. That’s prettier than a peach in June [definitely southern slang, and just terrible]. He couldn’t keep the pace, and played his final 11 holes in 1 over. But that start was a work of art. Take it to France next week and hang it in the Louvre.
“Yeah, I got off to a nice start there. I made some nice putts,” Woods said in near disbelief. “Good Lord.”
• It felt like old times out there today. The crowd was roaring. Our man couldn’t miss. And it didn’t look like anyone could step up to his challenge. Ultimately, his tepid finish allowed Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy to stay within shouting distance. Thanks to a McIlroy birdie and a Rose par at the last, it’s Rory who gets to play alongside Tiger on Sunday.
• Can Tiger skip the ninth and 16th holes tomorrow? He’s played those two in a combined 5 over par this week, making bogey on both in the third round. He was fortunate to only drop one shot on 16, thanks to an incredible fourth shot.
Said Tiger: “The fourth shot was money, because I was practicing that in the practice round, hitting a 56 or a 60 [degree wedge], and I couldn’t quite get it right. So I went with a 60 today, and I made sure I hooked it in there with a little bit of hook spin so that first hop kicked through the grain, and it came out nicely.”
• Many of you noticed Tiger’s feet kept slipping on tee shots. I’d love to give you an explanation, but even Tiger doesn’t know why.
“My foot slipped a lot today. I don’t know why,” he said. “I’ll analyze some of the video and some of the stuff, and we’ll figure it out for tomorrow.”
• Can Tiger win the FedExCup? He sure can. He needs to win tomorrow and then have Rose finish in a three-way tie for fifth or worse. He also needs Bryson DeChambeau [currently T-21] to finish in a two-way tie for 15th or worse and Tony Finau [T-6] to finish in a two-way tie for third or worse. But while the $10 million bonus would be nice, it’s just that: a bonus. Let’s end this five-year winless drought and get No. 80!