Tiger Woods admitted his back was an issue as the defending Masters champion faded out of contention with a third-round 65 on Saturday.
Woods said he woke up before 3:30 a.m. to begin preparing his body to play the final eight holes of his second round beginning at 7:30. He was only four shots off the lead through 36 holes, but said the quick turnaround to play another 18 holes on Saturday played a role in his lackluster 72 in the third round.
Woods, 44, managed only a pair of birdies that were offset by two bogies and his even par round left him 11 shots off the lead of Dustin Johnson. Woods, who underwent spinal fusion surgery three years ago, winced noticeably after a few shots during the third round.
“It’s just part of the deal,” Woods said. “If you have long days like this, I’m going to be a little bit sore, which I definitely am.
“I can walk all day. The hard part is bending and twisting,” he said. “I think that’s part of the game, though, and so that’s always been the challenge with my back issues and I guess will always continue to be.”
Woods is tied for 20th at 5 under for the tournament, leaving too much ground to make up in this year’s quest to tie Jack Nicklaus’ record of six Masters titles.
“I was focused on trying to get myself in contention going into tomorrow,” Woods said. “We’ll see how emotional it’ll be after tomorrow’s round.”
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)