HOYLAKE, England – Tiger Woods was the last to tee off Saturday in the British Open. He had the biggest gallery. It might have seemed like old times for Woods in the major championships except for one tiny detail.
He was starting on the 10th tee in last place.
Woods began the British Open with five birdies in a six-hole stretch for a 69 that put him only three shots behind Rory McIlroy. He walked off Royal Liverpool on Saturday with another round over par, leaving him 19 shots out.
“Made a lot of mistakes,” Woods said.
Woods was 5 over on the opening two holes going into the weekend. At least he was able to start with a par 5 on Saturday at No. 10, and he opened with a pair of birdies. That was as good as it got.
He made a double bogey for the second straight day, this time at No. 2. He drove into a gorse bush on the seventh fairway and made a triple bogey for the second straight day. The damage added to a 73.
Woods is playing for only the second time since back surgery on March 31.
Woods is tied for 58th. Except for missing the cut five years ago at Turnberry, he has never finished out of the top 30 in the British Open.
Darren Clarke has only two top-10s in the three years since he won The Open at Royal St. George’s – a runner-up against a weak field in China, and a tie for eighth in the Australian PGA Championship.
He gave himself a chance for another with a 5-under 67 on Saturday, matching the day’s best score. Clarke was 11 shots out of the lead in a tie for 12th.
He has had to adjust to a new body. Clarke has lost some 50 pounds.
“I’m not as fat as I was,” he said. “So my timing, it took me a little bit of time to adjust to that.”
The goal for Rory McIlroy is to win the claret jug today, and he’s in great shape with a six-shot lead. A few more records also are in range.
McIlroy was at 16-under 200.
He would need a 66 to break the 72-hole record of 267 that Greg Norman set at Royal St. George’s in 1993. More in range would be Tiger Woods’ record for all major championships in relation to par – 19 under at St. Andrews in 2000. McIlroy would need a 68 to break that.