AKRON, Ohio -- There is a chance for golf history Sunday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. If Adam Scott holds on to his one-shot lead and wins the tournament, it will be the first time a title will be remembered more for the person carrying the clubs than the guy swinging them.
If Scott wins, it will be the record eighth time that Steve Williams will have caddied for this tournament's champion. And it will be a personal victory for Williams over Tiger Woods, the man who won seven times here at Firestone Country Club with Williams on the bag, and who fired his longtime caddie last month.
No matter how that turns out for Scott, who is at 12 under par after shooting 4-under 66 Saturday, it became clear in the third round that Woods won't be the one holding a trophy Sunday. He will start three hours before and 13 strokes behind the leader. He will be looking to get more practice in after his three-month injury absence and trying to gain momentum for the PGA Championship this coming week.
"Just continue building," Woods said after he shot a spotty 72. "I've just got to put together a good round and let it build. That's something I haven't done yet. I've only played three rounds. Unfortunately, I'm not there battling with a chance to win, but I can still post a good round."
It would have been unrealistic to expect Woods to contend this week, having played only nine tournament holes since the Masters in April. He kept saying he was here to try to win, but the first order of business was to test his knee, Achilles and swing in competition. Check, check and check.
He didn't match the 416-yard drive that playing partner Bubba Watson hit on No. 16, but Woods did recover from a shaky front nine, in which he failed to hit a single fairway. He delighted a college golfer, Brady Klotz, whom Woods hit with a wayward tee shot on No. 6. The ball bounced off Klotz's lower back, and back into play. "Sorry, man, but thanks for helping me out," Woods told the uninjured young man as he gave him an autographed golf glove.
"I didn't hit the ball well starting off and I fixed it . . . everything was back to where it was at the beginning of the week," he said after his third round with childhood friend Bryon Bell as his temporary caddie.
Woods' problem, for the second day in a row, was his putting. His 5-foot birdie putt on that sixth hole rolled around the back of the hole and stayed out. He is looking forward to the Bermuda grass greens at the PGA at Atlanta because they will be like the ones he now has behind his house in Florida.
The talk about Williams' performance has been mostly tongue-in-cheek. It is the best players who win, not the best caddies. But Scott insists that Woods' former bag-toter has been a positive influence.
"Whenever you have a fresh face on the bag, I think there's a bit of positive energy going and you're a little bit more excited again," Scott said. "This week in particular, yeah, he's seen most of the best golf ever played around this place. I think he's got a very good understanding of this golf course, and it certainly has helped me a few times."
"I don't feel old," the leader said. "I still act like a teenager sometimes."