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Tiger Woods shoots highest nine-hole total (44) as a pro

Tiger WoodsSportsMemorial TournamentKobe Bryant

I knew that extra time at the driving range would finally pay off.

You can’t call me “Four Easy Payments” any more because of all the self-help gadgets I’ve purchased off late-night TV.

Saturday morning, after years of putting practice and sand-and-soil toil, I finally know what it feels like to play golf like Tiger Woods.

In case you missed it, Woods shot eight-over-par 44 on his opening nine during third-round play at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

It was Woods’ highest nine-hole score since he turned professional in 1996 with that introductory “Hello World” news conference quip in advance of the Greater Milwaukee Open.

Saturday, it was more like “Hello Nightmare.”

Woods’ score of 44 was his worst half-a-round since shooting 43 in 2010 at Quail Hallow.

Rain delays at the Memorial Tournament forced players to go off two tees Saturday, so Woods started his third round on the back nine.

Woods didn’t make a single birdie, the same course management plan many of us hackers have been using for years.

Woods made a double bogey on the par-three 12th hole (been there), carded another double at the long par-five 15th (done that) and made the turn after a bogey on No. 17 and a triple at No. 18 (Ah, the old "Quadruple Bypass").

After Nicklaus won the 1965 Masters, the great Bobby Jones remarked, “Nicklaus played a game with which I am not familiar.”

For years, competitors have been saying the same about Tiger Woods.

And then came Saturday, when Woods finally played a game that looked familiar to 99% of divot makers around the world. 

It was bad for Tiger, but sort of comforting for anyone who's ever skulled a pitching wedge into someone's backyard.

Woods' lapse, of course, was only temporary. He shot 35 on his second nine and still broke 80 (79).

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