Long before he reached the 18th green and an ovation from the 40,000-strong crowd that gave you goosebumps, there was no chance of him making the halfway cut, let alone challenging Graeme McDowell at the top of the leaderboard.
Rory McIlroy played two rounds with Tiger Woods this week at Riviera, and now he's ready for a break. "I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens and consequently never made a run," he lamented afterward. "You're going to know you're going to make a mistake, especially on a Sunday, and you've got to keep fighting and hopefully your fight is better than everybody else's fight".
"I've just got to play more tournaments", said Woods, 42, competing in his second PGA Tour event after a lengthy absence with a back injury.
Veteran Woods bemoaned his performance but stressed that he is still finding his feet amid the competitive nature of the PGA Tour after missing the cut in California.
Watson has held the 54-hole lead 10 times in his PGA Tour career, and has gone on to win three times with a final round scoring average of 71.1. He tied for 23rd in his first, last month's Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla.
"I'm playing nicely right now".
According to the four-time Major victor McIlroy however, such attention was a crucial factor in Woods missing the cut for the weekend's action.
Woods said he plans to remain at Riviera over the weekend to work on his game.More news: Men's basketball claims another win over top-25 team
American Sam Saunders was seven-under with three to play when darkness fell with a handful of players on the course.
Watson, a two-time victor of the tournament, began the day in sixth but started as he meant to go on with a second shot on the par-5 first landing within inches of the pin.
He added two birdies against a lone bogey on the back nine and enters Sunday at 10-under for the tournament. I did a lot of good things, everything's good.
McDowell opened his five-under par 66 with three straight birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th.
Back at home on grass instead of hardwood, he started his third round in style with a tap-in eagle at the par-five first, but acknowledged it was a tough slog the rest of the way.
Johnson is tied for eighth place at 6-under along with fourth-ranked Justin Thomas, Aaron Baddeley, Scott Stallings and Ryan Moore.
World number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson teed off in the afternoon and was four-over through six holes.