- Bob Harig, Senior Golf Writer
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ARDMORE, Pa. -- Barring a miracle comeback, Tiger Woods will see the five-year anniversary of his last major title pass Sunday without winning another one.
Woods shot himself out of the 113th U.S. Open on Saturday at Merion Golf Club, where the optimism from his first-hole birdie -- with which he pulled within 3 strokes of the lead -- was wiped out with three bogeys in his next five holes.
He didn't make another birdie the rest of the day -- "at least I started well," he quipped -- and finished with a 6-over 76. His 54-hole total of 9-over 219 is his highest as a pro at the U.S. Open.
"It certainly is frustrating," said Woods, whose 76 matched his highest round as a pro in the U.S. Open. "At Augusta, I was pretty close and I had the lead at one point and I hit that flag and ended up in the water. This week [if I'm] cleaning up the rounds and I'm one shot off the lead starting [Saturday] without any three-putts. And I'm playing well enough to do it and unfortunately just haven't gotten it done."
The No. 1-ranked player in the world, and a four-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, has been out of sorts for the majority of this tournament, seemingly suffering from a left elbow injury that he won't discuss.
Woods has been unable to take advantage of the few scoring opportunities that Merion's East Course present. He has not birdied the seventh, eighth and 10th holes, each of which is less than 400 yards.
There also have been issues with his wedge play and short game, which has led to 96 putts through three rounds, including 36 on Saturday. By comparison, Woods had 100 putts at Doral and 102 at Bay Hill for 72 holes in winning both tournaments.
"I didn't make anything today," Woods said. "I just couldn't get a feel for them, some putts were slow, some were fast, and I had a tough time getting my speed right."
Woods has 16 bogeys for the week, and he failed to hit the fairway on three of the first four holes other than par 3s on Saturday.
Starting with the 2012 Masters, Woods has not shot in the 60s on the weekend at a major championship, a span of 11 rounds. And since a third-round 66 at the 2010 U.S. Open, he is 14 over on Saturdays at majors.
Last year, he was the 36-hole leader at the U.S. Open but shot 75-73 to tie for 21st.
Rory McIlroy, ranked No. 2 in the world, played the first three rounds with Woods and was tied with him heading into Saturday. He shot a third-round 75.
Woods, who has 78 PGA Tour victories, including 14 major championships, last won a major five years ago to the date Sunday, when he captured the 2008 U.S. Open in a Monday playoff over Rocco Mediate.
Barring a miracle comeback, Tiger Woods will see the five-year anniversary of his last major title pass on Sunday without winning another one.