6:59 The weather looks ugly tomorrow. I leave you with Minnesota's own Bob Dylan, who sang: Outside in the distance, a wildcat did growl, two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds cool. Thanks for reading. We'll be with you for every big swing tomorrow, come rain or shine. Good night! 6:54 Vijay nearly Watsoned that birdie putt on 18, but it finds the hole. Tiger, meanwhile, misses his birdie try. He'll take his 2-shot lead into Sunday, along with his spiffy 14-for-14 record when leading or co-leading a major after 54 holes. I like his chances! 6:52 Eric in L.A. is giving even odds on Vijay getting this ball to the hole.
Any takers? 6:50 With the winds subsiding, Tiger sticks his 7-iron approach on 18 to about 7 feet. A great look at birdie. Then Vijay, tired of facing short putts, nearly jars his approach. But again he faces: Terror, at 3 feet. 6:44 Tiger again leans on his chosen shot shape of the week, a tight draw, to split the fairway on the par-4 18. Another club twirl. 6:41 From 40 feet, Tiger leaves his birdie putt just under the hole on 17. It's a 2-putt par.
Not surprisingly, Woods is standing as far away from Singh as possible, so as not to catch the putting virus Vijay has. On 17, Singh misses yet another short putt, pulling a 4-footer. 6:37 Bogey for Harrington, who finishes at -6, tied for second with Yang, 2 behind Woods. 6:34 Paddy misses his par putt and has about 18 inches for bogey. Barring some sort of Twilight Zone collapse from Tiger, it'll be Woods and Yang in the last group tomorrow. 6:32 Paddy, bogey-free today, had a thick lie in the rough at the back of the 18th green. He knocked his chip over the ridges and past the hole, onto the front-right collar. 6:30 A minor drama, as Harrington knocks his approach over the 18th green. He'll have to deal with two humps and a ridge to get it close to the hole for his up-and-down par. At -7, Paddy must make par if he wants to play with Tiger in the last group. If he makes bogey, Tiger would play with Yang, in the clubhouse at -6.
Woods makes a 3-footer on 16, for an all-world up and down. 6:26 Tiger lobs a nifty wedge from the rough to 3 feet on 16. He should make par from there. One of his best shots of the day.
"What a strange choice of club off the tee. A 3-iron. He barely reached the fairway," Feherty notes. 6:23 Tiger left himself a lot of real estate to cover with his approach on the par-4 16th--about 182 yards. His 7-iron takes a monster hop into the left rough, making par -- and sole possession of the lead -- a tall order.
It's quite possible he and Harrington will be tied entering the final round. 6:19 Another clutch putt, another make. Harrington brushes in a 3-footer on 17 to stay one behind Woods.
Could Paddy be a better clutch putter than Tiger? He looks it today. 6:15 Woah! The luck of the Irish? From 60 yards out, Tiger leaves his pitch a good 30 feet short of the hole on 15. He'll two putt for a mediocre par. That's some skanky wedge play from the World No. 1. 6:11 Trevor, on Tiger's blade-in bird on 14. Has anyone seen my jaw, it just hit the floor? Watch out on these next three holes. 6:08 Tiger executes a superb lay-up on 15, muscling a fairway wood from the fairway bunker, leaving himself a 60-yard pitch shot from the fairway to the flag on the par-5. Course management has never been so exciting! 6:05 A stress-free 2-putt tap-in for Paddy on 16, to stay at -7. 6:03 Tiger pulls his drive on 15 into a fairway bunker, losing some 50 yards of roll in the process. T.W. slumps his shoulders. Birdie just got a little more difficult.
Meanwhile on 16, Paddy finds the fat center of the green. Playing it safe, he'll have a 25-footer for birdie.
On 18, Yang will tap in for a 67, the clubhouse leader at -6.
Ernie drops to -4, after missing a Vijay-sized short putt for par on 17. 5:59 Talk to me, people. How psyched are you for this maybe-probably-hopefully Tiger-Paddy pairing a-brewin' for tomorrow. I'm getting into it. 5:57 Tiger "putts" with a bladed wedge off the back and, of course, drops the birdie.
Like I said, Tiger birdies 14 and 15... 5:54 Some prediction, eh, as Woods' eagle chip trucks past the hole to the back collar. Huh? Tiger's now gotta grind for birdie, after basically driving the green. Great prediction, blog boy! Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth... 5:52 Here's how I see it shaping up. Tiger birdies 14 and 15, with pars the rest of the way, to finish -9. Harrington joins him in the last group, at -7, also parring in.
Magic 8-Ball has spoken. 5:51 After a nice greenside bunker shot from a tough lie, Paddy fails to convert a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 15th. A disappointing par, aftering piping a drive down the middle. 5:49 Finally, a good look at birdie for Woods. On the par-4 14th, 313 yards, with the pin cut well right and the wind howling, Tiger hits a moonball with his driver -- on purpose -- that trickles to the back of the green. He'll have a lengthy chip for eagle. 5:46 From 280 to the green on 15, with 5-wood, Paddy pulls it into a left greenside bunker, short-siding himself, leaving a tough bunker shot with little green to work with. Birdie? Bogey? It will largely depend on the lie. 5:42 Tiger leaves his birdie putt a tad under 3 feet on 13. He'll have that for par, and to stay in a tie with Paddy. 5:40 On the 642-yard par-5 15th, Harrington drives it through a brick wall, killing his tee shot. In the center of the fairway, he can reach easily in two, Baker-Finch informs us in his sonorous tones. 5:39 Is Sergio religious? Is he watching Harrington putt today and thinking, "Thou Shalt Not Covet"? 5:35 Developing situations! And it's getting good.
Harrington's birdie putt on 14 drops directly in the center of the cup -- man, he's good with the putter -- from 8 feet. Paddy joins Tiger in the lead, at -7.
On no. 13, playing close to 240 today with the wind, Tiger delivers his tee shot to the fat part of the green, to the right of the hole. Just playing for par.
Yang is now only 1 back, at -6, after making a birdie on the par-4 16th. Phew! 5:32 Glover will fall back to -3 after a bogey on 13. That's his second bogey on the back nine for the U.S. Open champ. 5:30 S.I.'s Dick Friedman, watching the action from home, has a bone to pick with CBS's Nasty Nick: I like the way Faldo says, while showing Tiger in slo-mo, "You can rotate the clubhead with your hands..." No, Nick--you and Tiger can rotate the clubhead with your hands. I can rotate my head in my hands. 5:28 Tiger on 12: Good speed on his birdie putt, but his ball's just not falling today, so far. He taps in for par and faces one more tenacious hole before getting to take a lash on the driveable par-4 14th. 5:24 Harrington looks determined to make the final group with Tiger tomorrow, smoothly draining yet another knee-knocker from 5 feet, this one on 13. He stays at -6.
I know it's not Tiger/Phil, but Tiger/Paddy would be a helluva storyline tomorrow. 5:21 Stenson taps in for a 68, in the clubhouse at -4. Yang birdies 15 to get it to -5. It's truly an international leaderboard, as someone mentioned earlier on the boards. Maybe the Olympics announcement got these guys psyched up.
Tiger hits a 223-yard bullet into the wind on 12. His ball trickles to the back of the green. 5:18 After an errant tee shot on 13, Paddy chips to about 4 feet. He'll have another tester for par. 5:14 No sweat! Singh cozies it in on 11, for par. Tiger also makes par. 5:12 Good news for Veej on 11: He hit a brilliant chip from the rough to 5 feet. Bad news for Veej: He hit a brilliant chip from the rough to 5 feet. 5:09 Veej, Harrington will meet you on the putting green at the end of the day. Paddy coolly drops a 5-footer to save par, on no. 12. 5:07 But you wonder if EE, currently in third, is secretly thinking, Pleeeeeease don't end up in the last group with Tiger on Sunday. Too often in his career, he's played Weiskopf to Tiger's Nicklaus. S.I.'s Alan Shipnuck once wrote that Tiger "has a permanent time-share in Ernie's head." 5:03 Go Ernie! Nice to have you back. Big Easy makes a clutch par putt on the par-3 13th to remain at -5, very much in the mix. 4:59 Shameless self-promotion! Check out what Feherty said earlier about why Harrington is one guy who can step up to the challenge of catching Tiger this weekend.
Tiger's drive on 11 finds a bunker on the right.
From 244 yards out on 12, Harrington leaves his 5-wood approach in the bunker. He'll have a sinister up-and-down in order to save par, to remain 1 behind Woods. 4:56 Here comes Paddy! Harrington makes birdie on 11 to get within 1 of Woods, then on 12 he smacks a drive center-cut. So much for the Tiger Coronation. Bring on the rivalry!
After Tiger 2-putts for par, Vijay misses a 5-footer for par. Bogey. Ouch. He looks like he'll miss anything outside the leather today. As Feherty said earlier, he's driving it straigher than he's putting. 4:49 Els chips in for birdie on the 518-yard, par-4 12th. That's two in a row, and it takes him to -5 for the tournament, two behind Tiger. 4:45 On 10, Tiger hits a huge hook which slings off the hill and finds the fairway. That didn't get more than 20 feet high, Feherty tells us. Hot dang, that was a cool shot! Yesterday I saw Tiger hit a stinger from the fairway that rose no higher than Ian Woosnam, I kid you not.
Brendan Jones holes a bunker shot on 10! Birdie. He's back to -3. 4:40 Hey, let's go to the phones! Hey Connell...stick to the golf coverage. What have I been blogging about, the Canadian Curling Championships?
And earlier, Dylan fan Brian wrote of Tiger's errant drive: Tiger was tangled up in blue(grass) 4:37 Oh, no. Ohhh, noooo. From 4 feet, Singh yips it right on 9. Par. That hurts. Someone call the Humane Society. How does it feel, to be on your own? Like a complete unknown... 4:34 On 9, Tiger putts through the fringe up the hill, leaving himself 2 feet downhill for his par.
McCord: "Putting on this poa-annua grass is like putting on cauliflower." 4:32 On 10, Paddy, at -5, has a looooooong birdie putt. On 9, Tiger, from 125 yards, pulls s-wedge, but again gets too spinny with it, tugging his approach off the green. He'll need another par-saving scramble. Veej sticks it much closer, to just a few feet. 4:27 Chatty Cathy's Tiger and Vijay swap pars on no. 8. And Ernie Els leaps off of the milk carton he's been calling home and birdies the 11th, tying Singh on the first page of the leader board at -4. 4:22 Veej finds the back-center of the 180-yard par-3 8th green. Tiger pulls 7-iron and is safely on the back-right portion.
I know this is still technically "exciting," but why do I feel like I'm watching a Globetrotters-Generals game, and the heavy favorite is keeping is close for fun? 4:18 Tiger chips to 2 feet on 7, then taps in. A disappointing par. Woods leads by 2, with the course's truly wicked stretch of holes still to come on the back. 4:16 From about 114 yards on no. 7, Tiger nearly spins his 3rd shot, a wedge, over the pond, his ball stopping in the rough. He'll need to get up and down to save par on the par-5.
Vijay chips in for eagle, from the rough, a good 60 feet from the hole! He's now at -4, 3 behind Tiger. 4:13 On 7, Tiger has to chop it out of the right rough, effectively turning the par-5 into a par-3 for TW. That was a big miss off the tee potentially; for his career, Tiger on average picks up about three-quarters of a shot on the field on every par-5. If he pars no. 7, it's almost a bogey. 4:08 On the par-3 8th, Harrington--arguably golf's best clutch putter--drops his birdie from 18 feet, to draw to within 2 of Tiger, at -5. Perhaps we'll get our Paddy V. Tiger Sunday pairing afterall.
Glover follows suit with a birdie on 7, joining Paddy in a tie for second, at -5. 4:03 Singh 2-putts for bogey, ending the Hall of Horrors that has been no. 6. He falls to -2 for the week. 4:02 Facing a downhill, right-to-lefft birdie putt on 6 from about 12 feet, Tiger cozies his ball to the hole but doesn't give it enough juice. Par for Tiger. He's giving the field -- and live-bloggers -- hope, not running away and hiding. 3:59 Singh chunks his second shot on 6, hits two trees... and that saves him from finding the pond on the left.
Tiger, from 162 yards and in the left part of the fairway, hits his second shot to about 10 feet on 6. His best swing of the day. He'll have a great look at birdie.
Westood, who had gotten to within 3 strokes of Tiger, makes a double-bogey on 8, falling to -2. Holy Brit! 3:55 Vijay captain hooked his drive on the par-4 6th, after his disappointing par on the last. Dylan: But he breaks like a little girl... Tiger finds the fairway on 6. 3:50 OK, maybe not sneeze-in range, but short enough for Woods. He drops the 3-footer for birdie on 5 to remain at -7.
Veeeeeeeeeeej! Noooo! Singh pushes his 3-footer for birdie. It didn't come close to the hole. Par for the proud Fijian. That must drive him mad. Mama, take this badge off of me. I can't use it anymore... 3:47 Apparently, Tiger's been practicing his short game (or maybe he bought Phil's new DVD?). He chips to sneeze-in range on no. 5. He'll almost certainly make his par, from a couple feet. 3:44 Tiger "dead pulls" (says Feherty) his approach on no. 5, well left of the green. Veej then tosses a Jart to about 3 feet. Hmmm. A developing situation. Could we see a second straight bogey from Superman? 3:41 Tiger 3-putts from, what, 25 feet? While leading? In a major? Dylan sang about what Woods must be thinking right now: My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip... 3:37 And we have a 3-putt. Woods left his first putt about 3 feet short on 4, then lipped out the par putt. Bogey for Tiger, who drops back to -7. The lead is 3 over Glover.
Faldo just made me do a Corona Light spit-take with this gem: "They're gonna put out a plaque: Tiger Missed 3-Footer Here." Well played, Nick. 3:33 Minnesota fun fact! Did you know that Minnesota's own Bob Dylan plays golf? A little, reportedly. And he once sang... I'm gonna grow my hair down to my feet so strangeSo I look like a walking mountain rangeAnd I'm gonna ride into Omaha on a horseOut to the country club and the golf course. Carry the New York Times, shoot a few holes, blow their minds. That's from "I Shall Be Free No. 10," but maybe he was singing about Rory. 3:29 On the par-3 4th, Tiger finds the center of the green. A safety-first shot. Smart. A sure par, and a shot at birdie. Veej follows by finding the front of the green on the 193-yard hole, after backing off due to a steady wind. He'll have about 12-15 feet for birdie. 3:26 Glover brushes in a short putt on 4 to remain 4 back, -4 for the tourney. 3:24 Maybe The Man Upstairs wants to keep this thing close. Tiger's birdie putt on 3 somehow, some way, stayed out of the hole. Par.
Over on 10, Rory McIlroy just made a birdie to reach -3 for the week. McIlroy is only 20. I'm not saying he's young, but he arrived today in a child's car seat. 3:22 Speaking of Obama, who saw Bill Maher's anti-golf rant last night on "Real Time," on HBO? He said: President Obama must give up that awful habit that sets such a bad example for young people. I'm talking, of course ... about golf. Golf, if you're not familiar, is a pastime where you basically walk outdoors with a bag, muttering and cursing. It's like being homeless in loud pants. 3:18 After a safe layup, Tiger pitches it to the middle of the green on 3; he'll have about 20 feet for birdie. 3:14 Tiger finds another fairway, on the par-5 third, which, at 625 yards, is longer than Obama's health-care proposal. 3:09 Eric in L.A. is en fuego: Tiger's birdie putt on #2 was shorter than Verne Troyer. Thanks, Eric. You've been great. And now your headliner, Carrot-Top! 3:06 Woods makes his birdie to stretch it to -8. His lead is again 4, on Glover.
Veej made a loverly par save on 2, sinking a 5-6 footer. 3:03 Eric in L.A. is pretty sure Tiger and Veej are trying to make some friendly chat today: Up on the first tee, Tiger broke the ice with Vijay by asking him how you pronounce "Thongchai Jaidee." 3:01 From 158 yards, with a 9-iron, Tiger parks it to 3 feet on no. 2. An almost certain birdie, to take it to -8 for the week. Veej's approach dug halfway to Beijing in the back rough, in a U.S. Open lie. 2:58 Tiger's shot shape of choice this week is the draw. I watched him hit one after another yesterday on the driving range--from tight, 5-yard benders to big ol' sweeping 20-yard hooks. Over and over again. It's the penetrating shot shape that he's decided to call on in these harsh winds. And it's helped him hit 72 percent of his fairways this week, the boys at CBS tell us. 2:55 We have an Ernie sighting at a major. EE is -2 for the tourney, after making a bird on no. 4. Els is the one guy who's been sticking with Tiger in terms of hitting greens this week, but his putter has hardly been major-caliber.
Meanwhile on 2, Tiger finds the fairway, hitting a nifty little draw. Club twirl. 2:52 Tiger drops his par putt dead-center on 1, to maintain his 4 stroke lead. Meanwhile on 2, Glover, at -3, sticks an iron to kick-in range, and he'll move to -4, cutting Tiger's lead to 3. 2:50 Tiger chips to about 3-4 feet, left of the hole. Veej stalks a 10-footer for birdie. And leaves it short! Par for V.S. 2:47 From 199 yards out of the left rough on 1, Tiger slashes his ball to 5-10 yards short of the green. Like yesterday, he'll have to get up and down to try and save par. Veej floats a purty middle iron to 8-10 feet short of the hole. He'll have a good look at birdie, and Tiger could make bogey. Two-shot swing? 2:45 Corey Pavin, who may not enter a bunker without adult supervision, is doing the little guys proud, now at -1 for the week. Not that Eric in L.A. is a fan: Pavin was put on this earth to make David Toms seem more exciting. 2:43 No such woes for Veej, who slams a driver down the middle on 1. A reminder: Veej is one of 37 (or so) players at -3, 4 shots behind Tiger.
Talk to me, blogosphere. Can anyone catch Tiger today? And if so, who? 2:41 Pulling driver on 1, Tiger finds the left rough again, just like yesterday. On Friday, he had to hack out of a tough fairway lie short of the green, leading to bogey. 2:39 Stephen Ames has the hottest round going today, at -3 for the day, -2 for the week. Are you as excited as me about a Woods v. Ames showdown? Me neither! 2:36 We are T-minus 5 minutes, and counting, untill Tiger tees off. He's playing with Singh today. That should be a chatty group. 2:33 He's baaaaaa-aaaack.
Welcome to Day 3 of Tiger's Seemingly Inevitable March Toward His 15th Major, here on Golf.com's live blog. But maybe Paddy, Westwood, Vijay, or a player to be named later can make this a true contest. We shall see.
I'll be here with you until the final putt drops. Comments? Questions? Fire when ready, and let's watch some golf.