Tiger Woods vomits his way to his lowest score of the week at Isleworth
Tiger Woods loses his voice, tosses his cookies, & goes low at the Hero World Challenge. Not low enough, though, as he heads into Sunday’s finale DFL and 20 shots back of leader Jordan Spieth, who sets the 54-hole scoring record at Tiger’s tourney.
Tiger Woods had no voice and literally very little in the tank, but, despite an ongoing fever and serial vomiting, the tourney host posted his lowest score of the week, a third-round 3-under 69 Saturday at the Hero World Challenge.
Woods, who said he was on antibiotics to battle a bug that had observers wondering if he could start, let alone finish, the round, could barely speak after playing a quick 18 holes with 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel. Sick to his stomach during warmups, he retched on his way to the first green after sipping from a bottle of water.
“I wasn’t doing too good at the beginning, but I thought I could hang in there. If this fever just broke, I thought I’d be all right and it finally broke on the front nine,” rasped Woods, who started with a birdie and closed with three straight birds to get to even-par for the week. “Yesterday’s fever was higher but the nausea and vomiting before and during the round [Saturday], I didn’t have that issue yesterday.”
Back issues limited Woods to seven official events in the 2013-2014 season in which he posted no top-10s. Prior to Thursday’s start to the tourney that benefits his foundation, the former world No. 1 last teed it up in competition on August 9, when he missed the cut at the PGA Championship.
Following that second of three MCs (including the MDF at Torrey Pines) to go with two withdrawals this year, Woods went on a nearly four-month hiatus to rehab his back, which required a microdiscectomy in March. The good news — in addition to his six-birdie, three-bogey round on Saturday — was that what ailed the 14-time major champion was unrelated to the problems that curtailed the worst season of his professional career.
“It wasn’t easy and I fought hard,” said Woods. “That’s about all I had.”
Battling symptoms that would likely have laid low most players, Woods said he never considered throwing in the towel.
“I like to compete, so if I can go, I can go and I’ll give it everything I have,” Woods, who famously won the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg and messed-up knee, said in a gravelly voice he lost Friday night. “This is different [from having a bad back]. I wasn’t in pain, I just was a little under the weather.”
The bad news — in addition to “throwing up for hours” before and during play — was that the chipping woes that plagued his first two rounds were still evident on Saturday. Two horrendous duffs — at the par-4 sixth and the par-5 13th — on the Isleworth track that yielded a course-record 59 to Woods in 1997 resulted in bogeys.
At least Woods did not have to gut it out endlessly on Saturday.
“We played fast, which was nice,” said Woods, who clocked in at under three hours for his 18-hole stroll with Horschel. “I didn’t have to sit out in that heat for too long.”
Barring a worsening of his condition, Woods will be back at it on Sunday, starting from the 18th position he has held all week in the 18-player field. He’ll be looking up at Jordan Spieth, who set the 54-hole tournament record with a flawless 63 that put him at 20-under for the week.
Spieth’s 50-foot birdie putt on the final hole gave him a seven-shot cushion over Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson heading into the finale.
“This is the best I’ve played in a 54-hole stretch,” said Spieth, echoing remarks he made last week after winning the Australian Open with a final-round 63.