With the leaders melting down on Sunday at Bay Hill, it looked like Tiger Woods, who had an early starting time, was going to sneak in his second consecutive top-ten finish and momentum going into The Masters. Through 16 holes, he had rolled in three birdies and no bogeys. And then he reached the 17th, playing brutally tough today with the pin tucked behind the front right bunker, just four paces from the fringe.
Woods found the sand and couldn’t convert for par. He called his tee shot “the best shot of the day.”
With the chance to get a shot back on the 18th, Tiger dumped his approach in the water instead. “I was caught in between clubs and I chose the wrong club,” he explained.
He made a double-bogey for a disappointing finale before Augusta and shot even par. For the week, he finished at one-under and currently T25. Despite playing the last two holes three-over par, Tiger says he can take away positives from the week.
“I played well today,” said Tiger. “I hit the ball well all day. I felt like I putted well again today. I had good pace and just unfortunately a very disappointing finish. It was a very good week and a week I needed to see. It was nice.”
Mind you, Tiger knocked three balls in the water and it’s a course he’s dominated in the past (okay, before the changes, but still).
“I really hit the ball well and the things that we were working on the last couple weeks, I felt really comfortable today,” said Tiger. “I felt I was able to control just about every shot.”
Woods isn’t changing his process in preparation for The Masters in two weeks.
“Just keep working on the same thing,” said Tiger. “It’s getting better every week I’ve played and just need to keep progressing and hopefully it will peak two more Thursdays from now.”
Tiger plans to play a practice round at Augusta in the next few days. After his self-imposed leave of absence last year, he returned at The Masters and managed to finish T4 even without any competitive rounds that year. He hasn’t placed worse than sixth at Augusta since he won his fourth green jacket in 2005.
“It’s nice to have got some tournaments under my belt,” said Tiger. “Last year I went into it just like I did the ’08 US Open. Same deal — I didn’t really practice before the ’08 US Open because my leg was broken. I just went out there, show up and play and those two venues, I knew the golf course and that helps a lot.
“Now it’s nice to be actually in more tournament shape going in and again, they made a couple of changes, so I’ll take a look at those and develop a game plan.”
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)