Tiger Woods started the day just inside the top 20 on the leaderboard at the 2022 Masters, but while Moving Day is generally an opportunity for golfers to put together strong efforts as a means of jumping into the top 10, Woods looked as if he might be better off sealed in bubble wrap before returning to the course Sunday.
Tiger shot a 6-over 78 in Round 3, his worst score at the Masters -- as a professional or amateur -- in his career. The combination of a bothersome surgically-repaired right leg and inconsistent putter was simply too much for Woods to overcome, even with his experience and acumen at Augusta National.
It was disappointing yet completely understandable given Tiger was playing his first professional golf event just 14 months after nearly losing his leg in a severe automobile crash. Still, after Woods made his 22nd consecutive Masters cut as a professional on Friday, hope was he would be in contention come the final 18 holes.
It's debatable at this point whether anyone will be able to catch world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler given his performance at Augusta this week, but while Woods provided a few thrills during his Saturday effort, there were a few too many mistakes and not enough birdies to make him a threat to the leaders.
Tiger had three birdies, five bogeys and two double-bogeys on his way to the 6-over score. His pacing wasn't terrible compared to a field average that was above par for the day, but playing the final three holes at 4 over negated what would have been a more respectable score compared to the field. Instead, his scorecard ended up being historically bad.
That's not to say Tiger didn't provide entertainment for the throngs of patrons following his every swing. Woods drove the ball well and did some great work with his wedges around the green, but his poor performance with the putter brought heartbreak on a part of the course where he has often had an advantage.
"I was hitting too many putts," Woods said with a laugh after the round. "It was like putting practice. I hit a thousand putts out there today. ... Honestly, I didn't really feel like I hit it all that bad; I just had absolutely zero feel for the greens, and it showed."
A bogey at No. 1 didn't cause too much concern considering his performance at the hole this week, but then he a brilliant up-and-down birdie at No. 2 to get the juices flowing in a positive direction. It all started with a mammoth 364-yard drive off the tee, then after his second shot landed in the greenside bunker, Woods stepped up with a stunning play from the bunker that left him with an easy birdie putt.
That wasn't the end of his great wedge play as he bounced back from missing the green at No. 4 with a chip shot to 3 feet. After coming up short of the green again on No. 7, he popped up a lofty chip to just 4 feet to save par.
Unfortunately, there was disaster between those two great chip shots as Woods' round started to unravel with a four-putt at No. 5. After missing a 9-foot par putt, Woods quickly moved to knock in his 3 foot bogey putt only to see the ball rotate three-quarters of the way around the hole and horseshoe out. The double-bogey dropped Woods outside of the top 30 on the leaderboard at the time and became "Exhibit A" for putting woes that would follow him through the entire round.
Tiger did capture a little bit of magic, much to the delight of the patrons at Augusta National, on the second nine. He started Amen Corner birdie at No. 12 and then a tap-in birdie at No. 13 after a long eagle look.
Unfortunately, the bogey-bogey-par finish to his final three holes moved Tiger down the leaderboard and up on the tee sheet for Sunday where he'll work to make the most of his final 18 holes here at the 2022 Masters.
There's no doubt that having Woods playing on the weekend at all exceeds some of the expectations of his first competitive round since the 2020 Masters, but there's also a lot of "what if" to his round on Saturday considering a couple strokes here and there could have greatly changed the stakes for his Sunday in the traditional Tiger red.
In terms of goals for Sunday, Tiger already has a score in mind.
"Maybe if I can shoot 66 and get back to even par where I started," Woods said with a smile.
Watch the 2022 Masters streaming live Sunday with Masters Live as we follow the best golfers in the world throughout Augusta National with Featured Groups, check in at the famed Amen Corner and see leaders round the turn on holes 15 & 16. Watch live on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports App and Paramount+.