At exactly 4:20 pm local time, Tiger Woods was officially tied for the lead in a major championship for the first time in seven years – since the 2011 Masters.
Just 14 minutes later while playing the ninth hole, he held the lead outright at Carnoustie at 7 under. Ratings round the world spiked and it looked like Woods was a man playing tykes.
Woods began the final round of The 147th Open four shots back of a trio tied at 9 under – Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner – but in breezy conditions, they all faltered.
Kisner was the first to make double bogey (No.2), followed by Spieth (No. 6) and finally Schauffele (No.7).Woods got to that 7 under mark thanks to early birdies at Nos. 4 and 6.
Woods remained the solo leader for 2 ½ holes, before a few miscues at the 11th hole. Woods found the right rough off the tee, then hit a flyer long and left on his approach that hit spectators and ricocheted back toward the green and into some greenside fescue.
From there and without much green to work with, he tried to hit a delicate flop shot over a bunker, but didn’t fly it far enough.
It trickled backward and into a swell. He chose to putt it from there, but took three more strokes to get it in the hole and fell back to 5 under.
He added another bogey at 12, and despite a birdie at the par-5 14th, playing partner Francesco Molinari proved too formidable an opponent.
"A little ticked off at myself, for sure," Woods said. "I had a chance starting on the back nine to do something, and I didn't do it.
"I need to try and keep it in perspective because, the beginning of the year, if they'd have said you're playing The Open Championship, I would have said I'd be very lucky to do that."
In all, it was his third round of even-par 71 of the week for a T-6 finish, three shots back of Molinari. Had Woods won, he would have ended a major winless drought that extends 10 years, one month and six days.
He will have another shot at No. 15 in three weeks at the PGA Championship at Bellerive in St. Louis, MO.