AUGUSTA, Ga. — The golf swing still needs work. The club toss — well, Tiger Woods has that one down.
Frustrated again in the third round of the Masters, Woods chunked his driver and took a big divot out of the 13th tee box after ripping one into the trees on the par-5 hole.
All part of a day in which he opened with two quick birdies, but gave both of them back, failed to take advantage of any of the par-5s and headed to the 15th tee box at 3-over par, still eight behind leaders Fred Couples and Jason Dufner, who had a 2:45 p.m. EDT tee time.
Woods skimmed the cup on a 15-foot birdie attempt on No. 14, but it lipped out. A putt that used to go in for him fairly regularly, but not on this day, and he flopped his arms to his side in exasperation when it didn't fall.
Woods' third round looked a lot like his second round, when he also made two early birdies, but ended up shooting 3-over 75, while tossing and kicking his club in frustration as he moved around the back nine.
He has come from this far back to contend before. Last year, he was seven down and briefly grabbed a share of the lead on Sunday before finishing fourth.
So far this week, though, he has the dreaded "two-way miss" going. He's spraying tee shots left and blocking approach shots to the right. Through his tee shot on the 15th hole, he had hit only 22 of 40 fairways for the tournament, ranking him second to last in the 63-player field.
With tee times for the leaders approaching, a few players were making up ground.
Justin Rose made three birdies to get to 3 under, and Francesco Molinari made two to get to 2 under.
Phil Mickelson was preparing to start his day at 2 under. Matt Kuchar, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul Lawrie were at 3 under. There was a group of six at 4 under, including Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy.
Then there were the leaders — Dufner, the Auburn graduate, and Couples, the 52-year-old fan favorite trying to recreate some magic on this, the 20th anniversary of his Masters championship.
He put on quite a show Friday — bringing his trademark West Coast-casual attitude along with a smooth swing that hasn't broken down much over the years. He made seven birdies in a round of 5-under 67.
"Can I win?" Couples said, repeating the question now on so many minds. "Yeah, I believe I can. Yes."
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