Woods, 42, entered the Farmers having not played an official PGA Tour round in a year. The expectation might have been that his nerves and touch on delicate shots might be off. It has been exactly the opposite.
In the first three rounds, Woods battled his driver and hit poor iron shots, even when he found the fairway. He had no idea which way he was going to miss. Seven of his drives on Saturday found the right rough, four went left.
Woods has reached only 14 of 42 fairways for the week and 30 of 54 greens in regulation.
"Some of my go-to shots aren't there," Woods said. "Some of my shots I hit under certain circumstances aren't there, either. The only thing I have is my short game and my heart -- and that got me through today."
With all of that playing from the heavy rough at Torrey Pines, there was legitimate concern about how Woods' back, which has fused disks, is holding up.
He emphatically said on Saturday that there is no pain, and that the definitive test has come in all of the chipping he's had to do.
"The shots that hurt me the most were putts and the chips because I was the most bent over," he said. "... Bunker shots were off-the-charts painful, but I just hated hitting little, short shots because it just hurt. Give me a driver any day a year ago and I felt so much better."
Ironic, because it's killing his scores right now.
(c)2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune
Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.