Even the best golfers in the world have off days. That’s simply the nature of the sport. For instance, 18-time major champion and the host of this week’s Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus, shot 80 or worse 16 times in his professional career. Even Tiger Woods has found himself in the 80s on a few occasions, three to be exact, his worst-ever round coming at the very tournament in which he’ll make his PGA Tour return this week.
The 82-time PGA Tour winner shot a third-round 85 at Muirfield Village in 2015, his worst score as a professional by three strokes. Earlier that year, he shot an 82 in Phoenix, which was one stroke worse than his previous high of 81, which took place at The Open Championship in 2002 in horrendous conditions at that other version of Muirfield, you know, the one Jack named his place after.
So how exactly did Tiger Woods manage to shoot an 85?
Tiger Woods shot 42 on the front nine
After making the cut on the number after shooting 73-70 over the first two rounds at the Memorial in 2015, Tiger Woods came out in the third round and was all over the place. Here’s a hole-by-hole breakdown.
Hole No. 1: Tiger missed the fairway to the right but was still able to make par. (E)
Hole No. 2: He again missed the fairway, this time to the left, but again made par. (E)
Hole No. 3: Woods found the fairway on the short par-4 but couldn’t capitalize, again making par. (E)
Hole No. 4: He hit his tee shot into the left bunker on the par-3 and couldn’t get up and down for the par, carding his first bogey for the day. (+1)
Hole No. 5: Tiger couldn’t find the fairway on the par-5 and was forced to lay up on his second. He hit his third to within four feet but badly missed the birdie putt, leaving himself a longer putt for par, which he also missed. He tapped in for a second straight bogey. (+2)
Hole No. 6: Woods found a fairway bunker off the tee at the par-4 but was able to make par. (+2)
Hole No. 7: After a 323-yard drive at the par-5, Tiger was over the green in two but a poor chip for his third shot left him close to 25 feet from the hole. He two-putted for par. (+2)
Hole No. 8: He hit his tee shot at the par-3 into a bunker long and left and then hit his second into a bunker on the right. He found the green in three but missed his bogey putt. He rolled in the next one for his first double of the day. (+4)
Hole No. 9: Woods hit a solid drive and his second shot looked good in the air. Unfortunately, it hit a bank and rolled into the water. Yet another poor chip led to him having to chip again as he’d missed the green. He finally rolled in a four-footer for a second consecutive double to go out in 42. (+6)
He was one stroke worse on the back
While sometimes able to recover from a bad front nine, Tiger Woods was actually a stroke worse that day at the Memorial.
Hole No. 10: Tiger found the fairway and walked away with a ho-hum par. (+6)
Hole No. 11: Woods found the rough off the tee at the par-5 11th and then hit his second into the stream that bisects the hole. After the penalty stroke, he missed the green with his fourth but finally hit a nice chip for his fifth and tapped in for a bogey. (+7)
Hole No. 12: He missed the green left and long at the par-3 12th, chipped his second a dozen feet past the hole, and two-putted for bogey. (+8)
Hole No. 13: He found the left rough off the tee and came up short of the green with his second. He chipped his third to roughly five feet and drained the par putt. (+8)
Hole No. 14: Tiger hit an iron off the tee at the short par-4 14th, finding the fairway, but then sailed his second over the green, leaving an awkward bunker shot for his third that didn’t even make the putting surface. He chipped up for his fourth and made the bogey putt. (+9)
Hole No. 15: Tiger Woods made his first and only birdie of the day at the par-5 15th. He hit a great drive, a very good second, and two-putted for a four. (+8)
Hole No. 16: He avoided trouble on the long par-3 and made a three. (+8)
Hole No. 17: Tiger found the fairway off the tee but found the water with his second. He chipped to four feet with his fourth and rolled in the bogey putt. (+9)
Hole No. 18: Tiger’s last hole of the day was his worst. He found the left water off the tee and then came up short of the green with his third. His ensuing chip missed the flat part of the putting surface and rolled back down into the fairway. He somehow found the bunker with his fifth and finally hit the green in six. Two putts later, he closed his disastrous round with a quadruple-bogey eight. (+13)
Tiger Woods finished last for the first time in his career
Following the disastrous 85 on Saturday, Tiger Woods played alone on Sunday. 71 players had made the cut and he was easily in last place, where he would stay following a final-round 74. He was 14-over for the week, eight strokes worse than the trio that tied for 68th at 6-over. The last-place finish was the first of his career.
The only other time Tiger Woods has finished in last place just happens to be the last tournament in which he played, the 2020 Genesis Invitational at Riviera back in February, where he finished 68th. The 15-time major champion makes his return to the PGA Tour this week at the Memorial and will play the first two rounds alongside Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.