The final round of the Masters just got very, very interesting.
After threatening to run away with the green jacket, Scottie Scheffler made three bogeys in his last five holes Saturday and is now just 3 strokes ahead of Cam Smith going into Sunday.
Scheffler finished at 1-under 71 while Smith had the low round of the day at 4-under 68.
Five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods is out of contention after his worst-ever round at Augusta National. Woods, hoping to make a run at another green jacket 14 months after a horrific car accident, had three four-putts and one four-putt on his way to a 6-over 78.
“I fight each and every day,” said Woods, who initially feared after the crash that his right leg would have to be amputated. “Each and every day is a challenge. Each and every day presents its own different challenges for all of us. I wake up and start the fight all over again.”
Tiger Woods acknowledges the gallery on the 12th hole during the third round of the Masters.
Woods and reigning U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm will tee off at 10:50 a.m. ET, while Scheffler and Smith will tee off at 2:40 p.m.
Scottie Scheffler won’t be running away with the green jacket, after all.
Not yet, anyway.
Once in front by as many as seven strokes, Scheffler stumbled to the finish Saturday and saw his lead cut to three. He played his last five holes at 2-over, including a bogey on a roller coaster 18.
The World No. 1 had to get relief after his tee shot landed in the trees off the left side of the fairway. Scheffler found his ball, but it was behind a tree and beneath some low-hanging vines, and he spent several minutes consulting with rules officials.
He made an impressive recovery, flying the green with his shot off the pine straw. The ball landed on the slope behind the pin, and he used his putter to knock the ball onto the green. It ran about 2 feet past the hole, and he tapped in for a bogey.
“You hate bogeying the last hole but the way I bogeyed it, it for sure felt like a par,” Scheffler said. “It definitely felt like a good finish to the day.”
Scheffler finished at 1 under for the day, and is at 9 under for the tournament. Cameron Smith, who had the day’s low round with a 68, is at 6 under.
Get the Sports newsletter in your inbox.
Sports news, no matter the season. Stop by for the scores, stay for the stories.
“When I’m in the lead I’m trying to stay in the lead and not really overthink things,” said Scheffler, who has won in three of his last five starts. “Just go out there and play golf.”
Closing the gap?
Cameron Smith knew he couldn’t wait for Scottie Scheffler to come back to the rest of the field.
Smith had the low round of the day Saturday with a 4-under 68. That, plus a rough stretch on the back nine for Scheffler, has put Smith just three strokes back.
“You’ve got to stay aggressive out there, Scottie’s playing some good golf,” Smith said. “I needed to make some birdies and thankfully today, some putts went in.”
But there’s a difference in being aggressive and being foolish. Smith said he didn’t try to crush his drives or make shots that were needlessly risky. He knew if he put the ball in play and took what Augusta National gave him, he could make a low score.
He birdied each of the par-5s, and his 4 on No. 15 got him to 7 under for the tournament. But he was in a bunker off the tee on the par-3 16th, and made bogey when he couldn’t get up and down.
“It was really tough out there today. I think I did a good job of staying within myself, staying patient with the course,” Smith said.
Scottie Scheffler had bogeys on consecutive holes for the first time at this year’s Masters.
The world No. 1’s lead, as high as 7 strokes at one point during the third round, is now down to just 3 strokes.
Scheffler couldn’t get his putts to fall on either the 13th or 14th holes.
Putting practice for Woods
It wasn’t Tiger Woods’ rebuilt leg that hurt him at the Masters, it was his hands.
Woods had four three-putts and one four-putt Saturday on his way to a 6-over 78, his worst round ever at the Masters. He is now 7 over for the tournament, and 18 strokes – for now – behind leader Scottie Scheffler.
“I was hitting too many putts. It was like putting practice. I hit 1,000 putts out there today,” Woods said afterward. “Honestly I didn’t really feel like hit it all that bad. I just had absolutely zero feel for the greens, and it showed.”
The 78 is one stroke higher than Woods shot in the third round in 1995, his first Masters appearance. He was still an amateur then.
This is Woods’ first significant tournament since shattering his right leg in a February 2021 car wreck, and he has said that the physical challenge would be his greatest obstacle. He did look as if he was laboring more Saturday than he had in the previous two rounds, but his larger problem came on the greens.
Woods began the day with a three-putt bogey, his first of the week, on No. 1. He finished his round with a three-putt for a double bogey on 18. He also had three-putt bogeys on 16 and 17, and three-putted from just off the edge of the green on Nos. 9 and 11.
His most stunning one, though, came on the par-5 No. 5. He had what appeared to be a gimme putt for what would have been a three-putt bogey, and took a casual stroke. But the ball banged off the back of the cup, and he wound up making a double bogey, his first of the week.
It was the first time he had four-putted at the Masters.
“Maybe I can shoot a 66 and get back to even par,” Woods said about what would count as success for him now. “Hopefully I can get a good round tomorrow. … Get it going and putt a little bit better.”
Widening the gap
The rest of the field was going to need Scottie Scheffler to make some mistakes if they were to have any chance of catching him.
He’s not cooperating.
Scheffler made the turn at 3 under for the day, extending his lead to 7 strokes. The largest comeback at the Masters was by Jack Burke in 1956, who was 8 shots back at the start of the final round.
Charl Schwartzel holed out from the fairway for an eagle on No. 10. The ball hit about 2 feet above the pin and trickled back down and into the cup.
The 2011 Masters champion grinned as the ball dropped in and raised both his arms. The eagle got him to 6-under for the tournament four strokes behind playing partner Scottie Scheffler.
Another three-putt bogey for Tiger Woods, this one on the 17th.
Woods had not had a three-putt all week. Now he’s had two, as well as a four-putt on the par-5 No. 5.
Tiger Woods misread his par putt on the par-3 16th, the ball burning the edge of the cup.
Woods put his tee shot in the middle of the hole, the smart play because of the water surrounding the green. But it was about 42 feet from the pin, and his birdie putt stopped about 12 feet short.
Woods had the right speed and distance for the par putt. But his line was just a touch off and the ball rolled below the cup, running about 3 feet past the hole. He tapped in for a bogey, and is 3 over for the day.
Tiger Woods has been able to take advantage of the par-5 15th throughout his career.
Not this year.
The five-time Masters champion had the right distance on his birdie putt. But the line was just a tad off, causing the ball to roll about an inch wide. He tapped in for par, then looked at the hole in exasperation, knowing he’d let one get away.
Woods has played 15 at even par in all three rounds this week.
Tiger Woods made a big save after his second shot on the par-4 14th ran across and over the green.
Woods looked as if he was going to be in good position with his second shot when the ball landed on the lower part of the green. But it never slowed down, racing across the green and rolling off the back side.
That left Woods to make an up-and-down from a downslope just to save par, and he did, chipping to within about 2 feet and making it.
Start of a run?
After looking as if the wheels were coming off his round, Tiger Woods is rebounding.
The five-time Masters champion had back-to-back birdies in Amen Corner on Saturday afternoon, including his third birdie in as many days on the par-5 13th. Woods is now 2 over for the day, and 3 over for the tournament.
The Masters is the first significant tournament for Woods since he shattered his leg in a February 2021 car wreck. He had said it wasn’t his game that was the concern but the physical demands of Augusta National, and it seemed as if he was running out of steam on the 11th hole. He labored as he approached the green, and his 3-footer to save par hit the edge of the cup and bounced off.
It was his second bogey in three holes.
But Woods rolled in about a 10-footer on 12, then took advantage of the par-5 13th. He was on the green in two, though he had about 27 feet to make eagle. He got within 2 feet of the hole, then tapped in for the birdie.
Woods had a similar rebound Friday, making birdies on 13 and 14 to ensure he stayed on the right side of the cutline.
Not done yet
Just when you think Tiger Woods is done, he shows he’s got something left.
After laboring on his rebuilt leg on his way to a bogey on the 11th, Woods bounced back with a birdie on the par-3 No. 12.
The fans at Amen Corner greeted Woods with applause as he walked slowly onto the 12th tee, and he tipped his cap in recognition. He drew more applause with his tee shot, which landed about 10 feet from the pin.
Woods drained it, and smiled as he went to retrieve his ball. It was only his third birdie on a par-3 this week.
Scottie Scheffler isn’t leaving any openings early in the third round.
Scheffler made birdie on the par-5 No. 2 to get to 9-under for the tournament. Charl Schwartzel and Shane Lowry are five strokes back.
Scheffler, who has won in three of his last five starts to reach No. 1 in the world, has played the par-5s at 6 under so far this week. He has yet to make a bogey on a par-5.
Running out of gas
Tiger Woods seems to be feeling the physical toll of his comeback at the Masters.
The five-time Masters champion, playing in his first significant tournament since shattering his right leg in a February 2021 car crash, moved slowly as he checked the line on his par putt on the par-4 No. 11. His limp had also seemed more pronounced as he walked off the tee box with Kevin Kisner, though he was smiling and laughing.
Woods had said it would be his stamina that would determine how he fared at the Masters, saying he still had his hands. And, indeed, he can still make some of those impressive, signature shots.
He left himself about a 3-footer for par after putting from off the green. But the ball banged off the rim of the cup, leaving him with another bogey. He’s at 4 over for the day, 5 over for the tournament.
No damage done
If Tiger Woods can’t make something good happen, he at least has to avoid trouble.
He two-putted from the far right side of the green to make par on No. 10.
Tiger at the turn
This isn’t the kind of moving Tiger Woods hoped to do.
Woods played the front nine at 3-over, including the first four-putt of his career at the Masters. (He has another listed from the first round in 2005 on No. 13, but that included a ball that went into Rae’s Creek.)
Woods needed to go low early in the third round to have any chance of making a run at leader Scottie Scheffler. Instead, he got off to a rough start with his first three-putt of the week for a bogey on No. 1.
He got the stroke back on the next hole, nearly holing out for an eagle from a greenside bunker before tapping in for birdie.
But Woods’ round began unraveling on the par-5 No. 5. Having what looked like a gimme for a bogey putt, he gave it a casual strike, only to watch it carom off the back of the cup. He wound up four-putting for double bogey.
He managed to save par on the next three holes, including with a gorgeous shot out of the sand on 6 and an even nicer flop shot on 7. But he missed a 6-footer long on No. 9 for another bogey.
In the lead
Scottie Scheffler is on the course.
Scheffler has three wins in his last five starts, reaching No. 1 in the world, and has what seems like a formidable lead at the Masters. With little movement on Moving Day, Scheffler won’t need to do anything spectacular. But he will need to be steady, which was what he was on the first hole, picking up a par.
Hanging in there
Tiger Woods keeps giving himself chances.
The five-time Masters champion’s second shot on the par-5 No. 8 came up short, and his third left him with a long putt for birdie. He got close, rolling it about 18 inches past the hole. He is 2 over for the day.
Climbing the leaderboard
There’s finally some movement on Moving Day.
Justin Thomas birdied the second and third holes to get to 3-under. Danny Willett, Will Zalatoris and Corey Connors are a stroke back after early birdies. But everyone has a lot of ground to make up, with Scottie Scheffler sitting on a five-stroke lead before he tees off for the third round.
Tiger Woods’ short game remains in great shape.
After leaving his second shot on the par-4 No. 7 well short of the green, Woods played a gorgeous flop shot that landed within 3 feet of the pin. He knocked it in for another par.
The five-time Masters champion is playing in his first significant tournament since shattering his right leg in a February 2021 car wreck. He seemed to be laboring more than he did the previous two days, his limp pronounced as he walked up to the seventh green after hitting the flop shot.
Woods is at 2 over for the day.
Tiger Woods came close to holing out from another bunker, this time on the par-3 No. 6.
Woods’ shot from the sand left him a foot from the hole, and he made it easily to save par.
Tiger Woods is going to want that one stroke back.
Woods casually struck the ball on what looked like a gimme putt for a three-putt bogey on the par-5 No. 5. But the ball banged off the back of the cup, and he wound up with his first double-bogey of the week.
It was only the second time he’s four-putted at the Masters, the other coming on the 13th hole in the first round in 2005 — though that reflected a ball that rolled into Rae’s Creek. Woods had not three-putted in his first two rounds, but now has a three- and a four-putt before even making the turn.
He three-putted for a bogey on No. 1.
A textbook-perfect chip shot allowed Tiger Woods to save par on the par-3 No. 4.
Woods had studied the wind for several seconds before using a 5-wood off the tee. The shot went left, landing behind the greenside bunker. But Woods chipped to within 3 feet and made the easy putt to stay even for the day.
Woods needs to start making birdies if he hopes to catch Scottie Scheffler. Or any of the other golfers in front of him. But there has been little movement on “Moving Day,” with few players able to make up much ground in the cool conditions.
The end of the hole was better than the beginning.
After his tee shot on No. 3 sailed left, landing several rows deep into the gallery, Tiger Woods two-putted from the bottom of the green to make par. He is even for the day.
Back to even
Timing is everything.
Tiger Woods will need to take advantage of the par-5s at Augusta National if he wants to get back into contention at the Masters. He is off to a good start Saturday, getting his first birdie of the week at No. 2.
Woods nearly holed out from the greenside bunker, but the ball wouldn’t drop as it rolled along the edge of the cup. Instead of an eagle, he had an easy birdie putt that got him back to even for the day.
Before that birdie Saturday, Woods had played the par-5s at 2-under for the week. The five-time Masters champion knows the importance of taking advantage of the par-5s better than anyone. In his previous 23 appearances at Augusta National, he has more eagles (12) and birdies (180) on the par-5s than he has pars (142).
Tiger Woods’ struggles on No. 1 continue.
Woods began his third round with a three-putt bogey, his 10-foot putt to save par skirting the left edge of the cup. It’s his second bogey of the week on No. 1, a hole that has a long history of being tricky for him. In 93 rounds at Augusta National, the five-time Masters champion has birdied the par-4 just eight times while making 24 bogeys.
Woods began the day at 1 over, nine strokes behind leader Scottie Scheffler but just four behind the group that is tied for second.
Ice therapy is a critical part of Tiger Woods’ post-round recovery. It’s a different story before he plays.
Immediately after arriving at Augusta National’s practice area Saturday, Woods reached into his bag and pulled out a pair of rain pants. With a chill in the air and more rain in the forecast, the five-time Masters champion was taking no chances of his rebuilt right leg getting cold and stiff before he began the third round.
Woods tees off at 1 p.m. Saturday. He’s at 1 over through the first two rounds, nine strokes behind leader Scottie Scheffler but just four behind the group that is tied for second.
The Masters is Woods’ first significant tournament since he shattered his right leg in a February 2021 car wreck. The damage to his leg was so great Woods said he initially feared amputation, and it was months before he was able to walk again.
He has done an immense amount of physical therapy, and has said he has to follow his rounds with “lots of ice.” It helps reduce the swelling and fatigue in his right leg that comes from walking more than 4 miles on the rolling Augusta National course.
The winner of the 2022 Masters tournament will take home $2.7 million, with the total prize money being $15 million. Last year’s winner Hideki Matsuyama won $2.07 million out of a total purse of $11.5 million.
Second place will make $1.62 million and third place secures $1.02 million. The golfer that comes in last, or 50th place, will make $37,800. The remainder of the golfers will receive cash prizes ranging downward from $36,900 depending on the scores.
– Scooby Axson
Third round gets underway
The weekend is here and the third round is underway at the 86th Masters. Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Scott, who begin the day at 4-over par have teed off.
Of course, everyone is looking up at Scottie Scheffler, who scorched the course during Friday’s round and shot a 67. He is at 8-under, five shots ahead of defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, Shane Lowry, Charl Schwartzel and first round leader Sungjae Im.
Tiger Woods fights way into weekend at the Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods was on his way to falling apart Friday at the Masters when something strange happened. He didn’t.
Struggling on a windy, chilly day that grew grayer by the hour, his face frozen in a pained grimace much of the day, the 46-year-old Woods somehow managed to claw his way through a challenging second round to easily make the cut in his first competitive tournament since the November 2020 Masters.
That is a sentence worth repeating: Tiger Woods made the cut at the Masters less than 14 months after crashing his SUV, shattering his right leg and fearing that he might lose the leg or never walk again.
It wasn’t easy; he started horribly by bogeying four of the first five holes Friday, his worst start in 92 rounds at the Masters going back to his amateur days in 1995. But he said later he was proud of how he fought back, making four birdies in a seven-hole stretch to finish with a 2 over round of 74 for a 36-hole total of 1 over par.
– Christine Brennan
Big names miss the cut
Some of the big names who won’t be playing during the weekend:
Jordan Spieth: Just as he did in 2016, Spieth dumped two balls into Rae’s Creek on the 12th hole. His final-hole double bogey sent him packing with a 76.
Brooks Koepka: The four-time major champion, who had 12 top 10s in his last 16 starts in a major, made just one birdie in each of his two rounds and went home after two scores of 75.
Bryson DeChambeau: The 2020 U.S. Open winner has now played just 13 rounds this year as he’s battled hand, wrist and hip injuries. After opening with a 76, he made just one birdie in the second round and signed for his first-ever 80 on the PGA Tour.
Xander Schauffele: The Olympic gold medalist made just one birdie in 36 holes.
– Steve DiMeglio, Golfweek
Tiger’s presence leads to big ratings
ESPN reported a 21% increase over 2021’s opening-day viewership and the largest television audience of the first round since 2018.
ESPN said its nearly five-hour Thursday telecast peaked at 3.6 million viewers between 4:15 and 4:29 p.m. ET as Woods played the final hole of his first competitive round since a car crash in 2021 left him with severe leg injuries.
Last year’s average viewership of the first round was 2.3 million.