Tiger (+16) sets career worst for 72-hole event

Tiger (+16) sets career worst for 72-hole event
By: ESPN GOLF Posted On: April 15, 2024 View: 71

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Despite posting his highest round in his Masters career and his worst 72-hole score in a professional event, Tiger Woods said his return to Augusta National Golf Club was a "good week."

A day after the 15-time major champion posted a 10-over 82 in the third round, he played better while carding a 5-over 77 over the final 18 holes Sunday. Woods made a triple bogey on the par-4 fifth hole to go with three bogeys and one birdie.

Woods' 72-hole total of 16-over 304 was last among the 60 golfers who made the 36-hole cut. The five-time green jacket winner was 2 strokes behind former Masters champion Vijay Singh and Denmark's Thorbjørn Olesen.

Still, Woods was able to finish an official 72-hole tournament for the first time since tying for 45th at the Genesis Invitational outside Los Angeles in February 2023. It was the first time he finished a major championship since he was 47th in the 2022 Masters, his first start after he was seriously injured in a car wreck in February 2021.

On Friday, Woods set a tournament record with his 24th consecutive made cut after opening rounds of 73-72.

"It was a good week," Woods said. "It was a good week all around. I think that coming in here, not having played a full tournament in a very long time, it was a good fight on Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately, yesterday it didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to.

"Today, the way that Tom [Kim] is playing, I thought I had in my system. Unfortunately, I didn't produce it."

Woods, 48, said he intends to play in next month's PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Woods also hinted that he plans to compete in the U.S. Open in Pinehurst, North Carolina, in June and The Open in Troon, Scotland, in July.

"This is a golf course I knew going into it, so I'm going to do my homework going forward at Pinehurst, Valhalla and Troon, but that's kind of the game plan," Woods said. "It's always nice coming back here because I know the golf course. I know how to play it. I can kind of simulate shots. Granted, it's never quite the same as getting out here and doing it.

"Same thing, I heard there's some changes at the next couple sites. So [I have] to get up there early and check them out."

Four of Woods' 15 major championship victories were in the PGA Championship. He skipped last year's tournament in Rochester, New York, while recovering from ankle fusion surgery. He withdrew after 54 holes of the 2023 PGA Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, because of pain in his foot.

Ohio State golfer Neal Shipley, an amateur who played with Woods in the final round, said Woods told him that he woke up around 3:45 a.m. ET Sunday to get ready to play. Woods worked in the practice area with his 15-year-old son, Charlie, before his tee time.

"I got about three hours more sleep than him," said Shipley, who finished as the low amateur at 12 over after carding a 1-over 73 on Sunday. "He's really grinding and making a big commitment to be out here for everyone. It's awesome to see the patrons really appreciative of him and really enjoy having him out here."

In his 100th round at Augusta National, Woods posted an early birdie at the par-5 second, followed by a bogey at the par-4 third. Things fell apart on the fifth hole when he hit his tee shot into the woods on the right. He found his ball but had an unplayable lie, so he had to take a golf cart ride back to the tee box to hit again. He ended up three-putting for a triple-bogey 7.

It was Woods' highest score on a hole at the Masters since taking a 10 on the 12th in the final round in 2020.

Woods had a bogey on No. 6 before a string of eight straight pars. He made another bogey on No. 15, then nearly chipped in for birdie on No. 18. The patrons surrounding the 18th green gave him a standing ovation.

"Well, I think that just the wind and what it was doing out here to the golf shots and the balls and putting, how difficult the course was playing," Woods said. "It doesn't take much to get out of position here. Unfortunately, I got out of position a lot yesterday and a couple times today."

Woods' struggles weren't all that surprising since he had played only 24 holes of competitive golf at the Genesis Invitational before arriving at Augusta National. His ballstriking and putting looked rusty; he hit 43.1% of greens and lost nearly 2 strokes to the field on the greens, according to Data Golf.

Playing with a fused right ankle and back, Woods doesn't get to practice as much as he once did. He hopes to be more ready before the PGA Championship on May 16-19.

"Well, just keep lifting, keep the motor going, keep the body moving, keep getting stronger, keep progressing," Woods said. "Hopefully, the practice sessions will keep getting longer."

For now, Woods plans to get some rest. He's serving as a player director on the PGA Tour's policy board to negotiate a deal with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund that would potentially bring the fractured sport back together.

Woods, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and other player directors met with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan in the Bahamas on March 18. The PIF has financed the rival LIV Golf League the past three years.

"I don't know if we're closer, but certainly we're headed in the right direction," Woods said. "That was a very positive meeting, and I think both sides came away from the meeting feeling positive."

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