Tiger Woods could sit out the final round at Southern Hills after recording his worst ever score in the US PGA Championship as a successful battle to make the cut took a heavy toll.
Woods only made the cut with a shot to spare courtesy of playing the final seven holes of his second round in two under, a brilliant effort which still left the 15-time major winner 12 shots off the lead.
The 46-year-old had nevertheless talked up his chances of making a surge through the field, citing the 63 shot by Bubba Watson on Friday as the kind of score which was possible.
However, while Webb Simpson showed that might be true with a 65, Woods had to play his last four holes in one under par simply to break 80 after making five bogeys in succession in a major for the first time in his professional career.
“I just didn’t play well,” Woods said. “I didn’t hit the ball very well and got off to not the start I needed to get off to.
“I thought I hit a good tee shot down two and ended up in the water, and just never really got any kind of momentum on my side.”
Asked if he would play Sunday’s final round, Woods added: “Well, I’m sore. I know that is for a fact. We’ll do some work and see how it goes.”
After holing from 13 feet to save par on the first, Woods drove into the creek which bisects the second hole and made a bogey five following a penalty drop, before finding more water on the par-three sixth.
Woods then missed the green with his third shot from the drop zone on his way to a triple-bogey six and dropped another shot on the next to slide further down the leaderboard.
The chilly weather was doing Woods no favours due to his extensive history of injuries and bogeys at the seventh and ninth – where he thinned his second shot into the face of a bunker – completed a miserable front nine of 41.
Four more bogeys to start the back nine left Woods in danger of recording his worst score in any major, his unwanted mark of 81 set in terrible weather in the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield.
Yet in typical fashion he refused to throw in the towel, holing from 35 feet for his first birdie of the day on the 15th and celebrating by sardonically holding one finger in the chilly air.
Three closing pars gave Woods a 79, his previous worst score in the US PGA being a 77 in the first round in 2011.
Six-time major winner Nick Faldo, commentating for CBS, revealed it takes several hours for Woods to get ready to play before every round due to the severe leg injuries suffered in last year’s car accident in Los Angeles.
“Physically and mentally it’s a brutal effort every day. I’m amazed he’s just grinding on,” Faldo said. “He’s not giving up, he’s giving 100 per cent on every shot.”