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  Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 19:31 GMT 20:31 UK
Experts shocked by Tiger demise
Tiger Woods at Muirfield on Saturday
Woods could not believe the round he played
BBC Sport Online's Matt Slater

The wise old heads in the BBC commentary box said Muirfield would bite back at some point during the 2002 Open Championship.

But even they were shocked by the carnage they saw on the famous links course on Saturday.

After two-and-a-half days of wet but windless weather, the championship's leaders ran into the perfect storm as they started their third rounds.

The clubhouse, or any other stone building, was the safest place to be once the northeasterly winds whipped up.

And anybody who had the good fortune to play their third rounds before the sideways rain started was suddenly watching their three-round total take on a rosier tint by the minute.

Perhaps even more surprising for those lucky souls safely inside, was the sight of Tiger Woods and Colin Montgomerie heading south at a rate equivalent to the gusts outside.

Woods' 10-over-par 81 was his worst ever round as a professional - it was the type of score he posting as a 12-year-old.

European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance could not believe what he was seeing from his warm seat in the BBC commentary box.

"It went wrong from the word go," said Torrance.

"You could see that he was trying to force the scoring, and you cannot do that here, especially in weather like that."

Co-commentator and European Tour veteran Ken Brown agreed.

"He looked like he was trying to make something happen," said Brown.

"He was missing everything to the right because he was trying to keep the ball low and just snatching at it.

"But it has to be said that the conditions were just awful - anybody caught up in that was desperately unlucky."

Wayne Grady, the 1989 US PGA champion and 1990 Open runner-up, was another to sympathise with Woods and the rest of the late starters.

Miserable

"Tiger has had to play in as bad conditions as we've ever seen at the Open," said Grady.

"And it wasn't as though he was able to get on with it on his own, he had more pressure on him than anyone else."

Woods' miserable round killed off any chance he had of becoming the first man to win all four Majors in a calendar year, and threw the tournament wide open.

The world number one's previous worst round as a professional was a 79 in the 1996 Australian Open, while his worst in a Major as a pro was a 77 in the 1997 Open.

As bad as that was, worse was to befall Montgomerie.

The Scot, who scored a course record 64 on Friday, slumped to a disastrous 84 on Saturday.

The 20-stroke variation between Montgomerie's second and third rounds is a new Open record - Monty will be considerably less pleased with that second entry in the record books.

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