Tiger Woods will have the consolation of moving back into the world’s top 100 despite a disappointing performance in the Masters.
Woods avoided carding three consecutive over par rounds at Augusta National for the first time in his career with a battling 72 on Saturday.
And simply making the cut in the year’s first major was enough to ensure the former world number one will climb from 103rd to inside the top 100 when the rankings are updated on Monday.
“I’m just kind of gradually working on it, gradually building,” said Woods, who had slumped to 1,199th in the rankings while sidelined due to injury. “I was pretty far out there but I’ve had some success in this comeback and I’m getting there.
“I wish this week would have been a little bit better, hopefully tomorrow I can shoot something, get me to even par or even in the red. I think that will be a good goal tomorrow and hopefully I can get it done.”
Speaking about a round containing three birdies and three bogeys, Woods added: “Again, I didn’t play the par fives well and I didn’t hit a lot of good iron shots. It was the same as yesterday.
“I’m hitting so many good putts, they’re just not going in. But I’m not hitting it close enough. I’m not getting up there and not taking advantage of the par fives and consequently a good round is even par.”
As well as avoiding a third straight over par round, Woods also found dry land on the par-three 12th for the first time this week, raising his arms in mock celebration and making the baseball sign for ‘safe’ after finding the green.
“How about that?” the 42-year-old said with a smile. “You know, I just couldn’t do it three days in a row. I just couldn’t do it. And I gave it a little bit more gas on it and made sure that I was long if I did miss and I hit a good one in there.
“I missed the putt, but that’s a lot easier to play the hole from the green than it is dropping.”
Phil Mickelson took consolation from adding to his extensive collection of crystal after a third round in the Masters which veered from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Mickelson suffered the embarrassment of an air-shot on the opening hole at Augusta National, but also produced arguably the shot of the week to eagle the eighth in a rollercoaster 74.
The 47-year-old came into the week as a genuine contender to surpass Jack Nicklaus as the oldest Masters champion, but found himself at the wrong end of the leaderboard on seven over par.
“I don’t have it,” Mickelson conceded. “It’s still Augusta so I’m trying to make do. But it’s just frustrating to be out there playing when you know you don’t have a chance.
“I’m just hitting some pretty bad shots. I’m hitting some good ones, but hitting a lot of really bad ones.”
After pulling his tee shot on the first into the trees, Mickelson caught a branch on his downswing in attempting a trademark recovery shot.
That caused the left-hander to miss the ball completely and after punching his third shot on to the fairway, he compounded the error by missing the green with his approach on his way to a triple-bogey seven.
Mickelson also bogeyed the second, but lived up to his nickname of ‘Phil the Thrill’ with a spectacular eagle on the eighth. Facing an uphill second shot of 270 yards, Mickelson opted to hit a driver off the deck and produced a superb approach which finished just eight feet from the hole.
“It was a good one,” added Mickelson, who wins a pair of crystal glasses for the eagle. “Every now and then I’ll hit a shot like that and it makes it fun. The nice thing is I’ll get some crystal out of it. It wasn’t a total loss.”
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