Tiger Woods' world number one ranking is hanging by a thread after another dreadful performance on Saturday at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
Woods was completely out-of-sorts for a third successive day as he carded an unimpressive five-over-par 75 in ideal morning conditions at Firestone Country Club, a course where he has won seven career titles.
The 11-over 221 total is the worst 54-hole score in relation to par as a professional for Woods, who refused to talk to reporters afterwards, telling a tour official to "talk to the leaders."
Defending champion Woods was destined to end the near the bottom of the field at a venue where he won three titles in a row from 1999 through 2001 and again from 2005 through 2007.
"I drove it terrible, hit my irons terrible, didn't putt well and it added up to a lot," Woods told a PGA media official.
Unless Woods finishes 44th or better on Sunday, an unlikely scenario, world number two Phil Mickelson will take over the top spot for the first time in his career with a finish of solo fourth or better.
Mickelson was sharing second heading into the start of his third round, but a top-four finish is far from assured given the tightly-bunched leaderboard.
"If Phil plays the way he is supposed to this weekend, then he will be number one," Woods said.
Woods, 34, has been world number one for 269 consecutive weeks and 611 weeks in total, but has not won a tournament since a sex scandal erupted last November that saw him confess to cheating on wife Elin with multiple mistresses.
If Woods did not play well on Saturday, he was at least quick.
He teed off at 7.55 am and completed his round with fellow American J B Holmes in three hours, 25 minutes.
There were about 2,000 spectators surrounding the 18th green as Woods, wearing a lime green shirt, finished his round looking a dejected figure.
He played his chip shot to the 18th green so quickly the official announcer next to the green did not even have time to introduce him.