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Tiger Woods has been super human in is his return to golf after severe injuries to his leg/ankle/foot. Much early excitement was created in easily making the cut, but Round 3 shows that he is human after all.
After a -1 first round and a +2 second round, his third round score was +6 to stand at +7 for the tournament. Kudos for proving most people wrong (including me) by teeing off. I did not believe that Tiger would play at the Masters unless he could be competitive at the top, which medically, was an impossibility.
The putter certainly let him down today. Tiger admitted he had “no feel for the greens today” or perhaps he had no patience for putting today. One can attempt to argue that the flat stick has nothing to do with the ankle but in reality, everything is related. When one is grimacing with every step as early as after his third tee shot, it wears on one’s patience throughout the day. Not to mention he has not been able to squat down to his normal position to read greens throughout this tournament.
The consecutive rounds of golf on a hilly course have taken its toll as expected. After creating quite the buzz to make the cut at +1, Woods now sits at +7 and well out of contention.
If you compare his gait when crossing Hogan’s Bridge as the barometer, each day he has ankle has gotten worse at the famed 12th hole on Amen Corner.
Even if Tiger’s bones are healed, the high energy crush injuries and multiple surgeries leaves Woods with significant soft tissue trauma and scar tissue. There may be unevenness at the joint surfaces causing arthritic pain as well. With each mile walked and each swing taken, more swelling/stiffness sets in. It has been amazing to see him manage thru this dull nagging aching pain that can wear on anyone in everyday life much less someone trying to perform at the highest levels of a sport.
With his medical issues, we have expected each progressive day to be harder for Woods. That has unfortunately been borne out in his scores. It has been remarkable that Tiger even played, but it was always too much to ask to see him in contention on Sunday.