Augusta: Tiger Woods failed to make a move up the Masters leaderboard on Saturday but apologised for the club-kicking incident which has brought him sharp criticism.
Woods, who started the day eight shots back of the leaders, failed to narrow the gap after carding an even-par third round of 72 that left him at three over for the tournament.
But once again, the former world number one's frustration at his inconsistent game was on display at Augusta National as he hurled his club into the ground and took out a big divot after hooking his tee shot on the 13th into the trees.
It was a flashback to his behaviour during Friday's second round where Woods angrily kicked his club after sending his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the par-three 16th hole.
"Certainly I'm frustrated at times and I apologise if I offended anybody by that," said Woods. "But I've hit some bad shots and it's certainly frustrating at times not hitting the ball where you need to hit it."
Asked if he had heard from anyone about the incident, Woods said: "I certainly heard that people didn't like me kicking the club but I didn't like it either," he said. "I hit it right in the bunker and didn't feel good on my toe either."
Woods showed some promise early in his third round with birdies on the par-four third and the par-three fourth but bogeyed the sixth and ninth to reach the turn at 36.
The former world number made par for the rest of the round but given his lowly position on the leaderboard that was not enough to give him much more than a puncher's chance on Sunday.
"Hey, anything can happen here. That's the thing. You can be four, five, six back on the back nine and still win the golf tournament," said the four-times winner at Augusta National.
"I need to put myself there where I have a chance," added Woods, who acknowledged he needed some help from the later groups on Saturday.
Woods, whose victory at Bay Hill last month suggested he was close to his best, looked unhappy with his game again, despite spending Friday evening on the range, working on the swing that had troubled him on Friday.
"I'm just trying to get back to how I had it at Bay Hill and prior to Bay Hill. I got here and for some reason I kind of fell into my same old patterns again. I just can't do that. So I've just got to continue working at it," said Woods.
"And it was better today. This round was a lot better. I felt a lot more comfortable over the shots, unfortunately was just a fraction off."
Woods has managed just one birdie on a par-five hole this week, a once unthinkable statistic for the 14-times major winner who used to enjoy great success on the longest holes.
"I would like to say it was poor driving, but then I drive in the fairways and then miss into a bad spot or I would miss the drive and then compound the problem from there," said Woods.
"Or hit two really nice shots up there or three good shots up there in a position where I could make birdie and then I would miss.
"It was just one thing after another. So you have got to be patient, which I was today. I was very patient out there. I was grinding hard and it was a tough day."