Tiger Woods in uncharted territory after disastrous front nine

World number one 17 off Kuchar’s lead after 44 on the way out, Rory McIlroy (75) six over

 

Tiger Woods created an unwanted record today after carding the worst nine-hole score of his professional career during a nightmare third round at the Memorial Tournament.

The defending champion took 44 shots on the outward nine and, although he recovered slightly with three birdies in five holes following the turn, two more bogeys followed as he signed for a seven-over-par 79.

That left the world number one eight over for the tournament, and a massive 17 shots behind leader Matt Kuchar, who was eight under after a 70 left him two clear of Kevin Chappell and Kyle Stanley.

Overnight leader Bill Haas dropped back to five under after a 76, with Matt Jones (70) and Justin Rose (71). Charl Schwartzel, who cut Haas’ three-shot overnight lead back to one when the South African completed his rain-affected second round this morning, had led for a while but dropped back to four under after when a dismal run of four bogeys and a double-bogey in eight holes saw him sign for a 76, as well.

World number two Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, was well down the leaderboard having earlier completed his second round with a four-under-par 69 to survive the cut, which was made at three over.

Starting on the 10th he began with a bogey but pulled the shot back on the 12th and reached the run in a level par 36, before once again faltering. A birdie at the ninth was the only thing between him and a nine-hole total of 40 after bogeys at the first and eighth, and a double-bogey at the third.

The round of 75 left him six over.

The big news surrounded Woods, though, as the 14-time major winner had a day he will quickly want to forget. Starting on the back nine at Muirfield Village in Ohio, Woods carded double-bogeys on the 12th and 15th, a bogey on the 17th and then a treble-bogey seven on the 18th to reach the turn in an incredible eight over par, leaving him nine over for the competition and in last place overall.

He tried to fight back on the inward nine with those three birdies but further dropped shots at the sixth and ninth — his last — left him in the bottom four.

Of some consolation to the reigning champion is that he did at least manage to avoid his highest round of his PGA Tour career, which was the 81 he shot at the 2002 British Open.