Ongoing back issues sometimes affect Tiger’s play. But he’s still capable of turning in some of the best rounds of golf in spite of it all. Yet, even the best athletes on earth still have off days.
The following is a list of the worst Tiger Woods performances of his career. Keep in mind: The aim of sharing these moments is not to tear Tiger down. It’s to show that, for an elite athlete, it’s what comes after a trying day that truly counts.
A freak storm buries Tiger Woods’ 2002 Open Championship
Tiger Woods is a durable player even under the worst playing circumstances. But the 2002 British Open was miserable for everyone involved.
Horrific wind and rain swept the course throughout the third round. Tiger wasn’t the only one suffering from the chaos. Basically anyone who teed off in the afternoon put on a miserable showing. His 81 round was one of his worst. He followed that up with a 65 the following day, but the damage was done.
Tiger Woods’ personal life likely affected his 2010 Quail Hollow Championship run
Tiger didn’t have many bad rounds after the frigid mess that was the 2002 British Open. It was circumstances well outside the game that may account for his round two 79, one of the worst of his career.
According to the Golf Channel, he missed the cut by eight strokes. He visibly looked unlike his normal self while playing.
Woods vented at the gathered press after the round, but stopped short of admitting whether it affected his game. “Does it test you? Yes, of course it does,” Tiger told reporters.
“Is that any excuse? No, because I’m out there and I have the same opportunity as everybody else here in this field to shoot a good number, and I didn’t do that.”
Erratic conditions lead to a botched 2013 Memorial Tournament
Tiger put up a 79 at round three of the 2013 Memorial Tournament. It was a performance that is best described as a meltdown. The conditions were largely favorable, except for some random gusts of wind. Tiger seemingly got caught by bad luck, with wind picking up suddenly during several crucial strokes.
“We didn’t hit that many bad shots starting out the day and the next thing you know we are quite a few over par,” Woods told gathered press afterwards.
A favorite course left him cold at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open
Every golfer has a shortlist of courses that they relish the opportunity to compete on. They hope to perform strongly on these, to make up for other courses that don’t mesh well with their style.
Torrey Pines is one of Tiger Woods’ favorites. But golf is still golf, an immensely difficult sport where any number of nearly invisible factors can add up to a total meltdown. That caught up to Tiger at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.
The 79 was his worst performance to date at the time. He nearly turned it into an 80. CBS News describes the 10-foot putt that ended his stressful day as a near-miss.
The 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open puts Tiger into Marshawn Lynch mode
Tiger turned in an 82 for his first round in 2015, which proved to set the tone for a rough year. It wouldn’t be the worst of his career — that came shortly thereafter.
It was the 13th missed cut of his career, including a double-bogey followed directly by a triple-bogey. Incensed afterward, the normally press-friendly Woods knowingly imitated Marshawn Lynch’s most infamous presser.
“I’m just doing this so I don’t get fined,” Tiger repeatedly told the gathered media. He shouldn’t have felt so hard on himself. The day was also one of the worst for fellow golf superstar Phil Mickelson.
When Tiger Woods went into full meltdown mode at the 2015 Memorial Tournament
Tiger Woods’ worst round of golf to date came immediately after his previous all-time worst. This was not a great player under-performing, so much as he seemed to be having an out-of-body experience.
The disastrous round three involved hitting four balls directly in the water. Then, Tiger lost his putt when it counted most. His long strokes were terrible the entire weekend, but his putting was as on point as ever. Not so at the end of the third round, when he missed three much-needed putts within five feet.