Tiger Being Tiger, Phil Chokes, Poulter Flips Out

The rest of the U.S. Open field will be seeing red today.

Tiger Woods Phil Mickelson Ian Poulter US Open

Tiger Woods put together a monster third round to take the lead at this year’s Open at Torrey Pines. Some of the others, like Phil Mickelson and Englishman Ian Poulter, didn’t fare quite so well.

Woods, battling a sore knee that endured surgery two months ago, finished with a 1-under-par 70, including two eagles on the back nine, to take a one-shot lead going into the final round. Which means that about 11 million people that didn’t care about golf yesterday care about golf today. Woods will likely wear red today, as he sits in contention for his 14th major win.

Phil Mickelson probably woke up this morning on a wet mattress, as he wet the bed in his third round yesterday. Notable was Mickelson’s Tin Cup sort of moment on 13. From YAHOO! SPORTS:

Mickelson collapsed in a big way on the par-5 13th hole Saturday, shooting quadruple-bogey 9 to fall way behind the leaders during a 5-over-par 76 third round that has him sitting at 9-over 222.

Mickelson’s tee shot landed in the left-side rough and he laid his second shot up onto the fairway about 80 yards from the hole. His third shot narrowly made it to the front of the green but not far enough to keep it from rolling back down the steep slope in front of the green.

The same thing happened on each of Mickelson’s next two attempts. He lofted his ball toward the green, but it didn’t clear the slope and rolled slowly back toward him.

Finally, Mickelson chipped his ball well back on to the green. He then three-putted to end the meltdown that ensures he will remain winless in 18 U.S. Open appearances.

But the best meltdown of the weekend belonged to Poulter, who eventually withdrew from the event on Friday after a wrist injury, possibly from flipping the bird at some soggy turf after duffing a wedge shot on 12. From GOLF.COM:

That was it. Enough. Poulter took two steps, raised his club like an axe and brought it down head-first into the moist rough. He took a few steps toward his bag, and with the shaft still quivering in the ground, he spun around and presented his right middle finger to the divot he’d created.

They don’t call it a major for nothing, and the U.S. Open is arguably the best tournament for watching players’ games detonate. That fact, coupled with Tiger’s return to the leaderboard, should make for interesting viewing…while we wait for Game Five of the NBA Finals.

Coverage of the Open resumes at 3 PM on NBC.