He led by as many as five shots on the back nine until that bogey on 14. Even so, it was his largest lead going into the final round of a major since the 2005 Masters, which he won in a playoff over Chris DiMarco.
One after another, players finished their rounds, looked at the top of the leaderboard and figured it would require their best round to have any chance of winning. They have seen this before.
And so has Woods, even if he won't concede the tournament is over.
This is only the fifth time in his career that Woods came to the final major of the year without winning one, although he arrived at Southern Hills fresh off an eight-shot victory at a World Golf Championship.
But the work is not done.
"I've always said in order to have a great year you have to win a major championship," he said. "You can win every tournament, but the majors are where it's at. And this year, I've had some opportunities to deal with this. I haven't done it. I'm in good shape going into tomorrow and hopefully, I can get it done."
The only low scores were in the morning, when the greens were still smooth. Boo Weekley had a chance to shoot 63 until he hit his approach on the 18th about 45 feet away and took three putts for a bogey and a 65.
Playing with Weekley was Sergio Garcia, but not for long. Weekley marked down a 4 for Garcia on the 17th hole when the Spaniard made 5, and Garcia signed it anyway and was disqualified.
Woods looked as though he might come back to the field, but he steadied himself quickly. He saved par twice on the first three holes, then wiggled his way out of trouble on the par-5 fifth when he bounced his third shot out of the rough, under a tree and tumbling up to the green about 35 feet left of the pin.
It will be the second straight week that Woods played in the final group against someone whose comments about him got wide publicity. Last week, Woods turned a one-shot victory over Rory Sabbatini - who said earlier this year Woods looked "beatable as ever" into an eight-shot win.
This will be the first time since Match Play last year that Woods and Ames have played together.
For both, it seemed like a distant memory. More important is the immediate future.
"I know what I have to do tomorrow," Woods said.