AUGUSTA, Ga. Considering all that has happened over the past five months in Tiger Woods’ life, a fourth-place finish in the Masters might seem satisfying for his first event of the year.
“I finished fourth. Not what I wanted. I wanted to win this tournament,” Woods said Sunday.
The problem as Woods surmised it wasn’t competitive rust. It was a gradual deterioration of his swing as the tournament wore on. He shot 68 Thursday and it could have been lower had a few putts fallen.
From there, however, he played the final three rounds 7-under par, but it felt like a battle the whole time. There were sudden highs and just as sudden lows.
He hit spectacular shots, like the hole-out 8-iron for eagle from the seventh fairway Sunday and the brilliant eagle he made at the par-5 15th. Just as striking were the scratchy shots that marked his play early in the final round, causing him to lose three shots to par in the first five holes, costing him any chance of winning.
It started before the round when Woods had his second straight difficult warm-up session, sending him to the course wondering if he could find it there. It left him feeling frustrated and it showed.
“I was not feeling good,” Woods said. “I hit a big snipe off the first hole and I don’t know how people can think I should be happy about that.
“I hit a wedge from 45 yards and basically bladed it over the green. These are not things I normally do. So I’m not going to be smiling and happy.
“And I hit one of the worst, low kind of quack hook on No.5. I’m not going to be walking around there with a lot of pep in my step because I hadn’t hit a good shot yet.”
Woods said he was proud of the way he hung in despite his swing struggles and said he felt “pretty good” about his first week back.