It’s been a long week for Tiger Woods at the BMW Championship. First, on Friday he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for inadvertently moving his ball and not replacing it. That moved him from being five shots back entering the third round to seven, and if that wasn’t enough, it also put him in a pairing with Sergio Garcia. If you recall, those two have had their own issues this year.
Still, through all of that, Woods will begin Sunday’s final round in fifth place, four strokes back of leader Jim Furyk after a five-under round of 66 kept him solidly in contention. With Henrik Stenson in a tie for 18th, Woods will likely take back his spot atop the FedEx Cup standings with even an average round. Even though that may take some of the pressure off, it’s still incredibly important that Woods puts up a good number on Sunday.
Why is that? Tiger thrives on being the guy with the target on his back. He’s at his best when he can play a comfortable game and make his opponents play catch-up. If he can go out on Sunday and post another 66 or 67, not only might he have a shot at winning the tournament, but he becomes an even bigger favorite at East Lake.
Of course, Woods will tell you that right now, he’s focused only on the task at hand at Conway Farms. He wants to win this week and think about the Tour Championship when that time comes. If he really wants to send a message to the 29 other players who will join him in Atlanta next week, he needs to come out on Sunday with his foot firmly on the throttle.
Even after such a solid third round, Woods commented on Saturday afternoon that he was still upset over the penalty he was assessed on Friday, but whether he thinks the ball actually moved or just “oscillated” doesn’t matter now. The time for lingering on those errors is over. When Tiger puts on that signature Sunday red, it’s time for the Tour’s most fierce competitor to go out and get the job done.