Tiger Woods felt aches and pains as the cold weather in California flared up his injury-ravaged body but the 15-time major champion refused to use it as an excuse following his third-round display at the U.S. Open.
Woods produced another battling display at Pebble Beach, where the former world number one carded a 71 to be even par after 54 holes on Saturday.
The 43-year-old American birdied the last to be well off the pace heading into the find round of a tournament he has won three times previously.
Woods was seen with tape on his back, under his shirt, throughout the penultimate day, sparking fears of an injury following numerous back surgeries which derailed his career.
However, the Masters champion allayed any fears during his post-round news conference, telling reporters: “When it’s cold like this everything is achy. It’s just part of the deal.
“It’s been like that for years. The forces have to go somewhere. And if they’re not in the lower back, they’re in the neck, and if not, they’re in the mid-back and if not they go to the knee. You name it.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 15, 2019
Asked if his neck impacted any shots, Woods replied: “Yeah, it does. As I say my back impacts every shot I play, it’s just part of the deal.”
Woods refused to use it as an excuse, adding: “I’ve had my chances to post good rounds today, this week. Today was a perfect example, I fought back and if I was able to clean up my rounds the first two days, I would be closer to the lead than I am now.”
It was another difficult day for Woods, who had five bogeys to go with five birdies as he posted his third consecutive round in the 70s.
Woods’ putter got him in trouble on the front nine after missing a putt for par at the seventh and then another for birdie at the eighth, which put him one over at the turn.
But he did make some nice putts, like the one at the fifth hole, which was part of his lone set of back-to-back birdies for the day.
“I got off to an awful start, and clawed it around, but still gave myself a chance for tomorrow, which is positive,” Woods said. “And we’ll see what the weather forecast is for tomorrow.
“There are a lot of guys ahead of me right now. Seems like everyone is doing what I was supposed to do earlier which is play two- to four-under par through the first seven. We’ll see what they do coming in. I was playing with An Byeong-hun today and he played a hell of a round today. Missed the ball in the correct spots and that’s what you have to do in this space.”