Tiger Woods’ two-stroke penalty in the Masters for an illegal drop left him five shots behind leader Jason Day instead of three. It’s hardly an insurmountable disadvantage considering Woods’ history in the Masters. Going into the third round in his last three Masters victories, Woods was six back (2005), four back (2002), and two back (2000).

The difference however is how many players Woods had to pass. When play started on Saturday, there were 17 players between Woods and Day. In 2005, there was only one player between Woods and leader Chris DiMarco. In 2002, there were four players between Woods and leader Vijay Singh. In 2001, he was tied for second place with Phil Mickelson, trailing DiMarco.

In all four of his Masters wins, Woods was in the lead or tied for it after the third round. To do that on Saturday, Woods would have to have an incredible round.

Since his last Masters win, Woods has made up similar ground in the third round, but never gotten to the lead. With too much pressure to play catch-up on Sunday, Woods hasn’t played his best.

Here’s a summary of what has happened to Woods since 2005.

2006 – Woods was five back entering the third round, but there were 11 players between him and leader Chad Campbell. Woods shot a 71 to get within two strokes of the lead of Mickelson. But on Sunday, Woods shot 70 to Mickelson’s 69 and tied for third.

2007 – Woods started the third round, five behind Brett Wetterich and Tim Clark. On a day of brutal conditions, Woods shot 70 to scale the leaderboard, getting to within a shot of the lead of Stuart Appleby. On Sunday, however, when the course was more manageable, Woods shot 72 while Zach Johnson finished with a 69 and a two-shot win as Woods tied for second.

2008 – Woods trailed Trevor Immelman by seven shots entering the third round. His 68 allowed him to leapfrog several players, but Immelman (69) remained in command. On Sunday Immelman (75) was ripe to be overtaken, but Woods shot an uninspired 72. He would have won if he had shot the score posted in the final round by Miguel Angel Jiminez (68).

2009 – In a tournament won by Angel Cabrera, Woods (70-72-70-68 – 280) never made much of a run at the lead, finishing tied for sixth, four shots back.

2010 – Shooting a 70, Woods lost ground in the third round, going from two back to four behind of Lee Westwood. On Sunday, Woods (69) couldn’t run down Mickelson (67), finishing five shots back, tied for fourth.

2011 – Woods shot 74 in the third round, going from three behind Rory McIlroy (70) to seven back. On Sunday, Woods made a spectacular front nine charge, shooting 31 and tying for the lead, but couldn’t continue his pace, playing the back in even par and finishing four behind Charl Schwartzel.

2012 – Woods never was a factor.




2012 – Woods never was a factor.