Woods finishes Masters in 4th place in return to golf

By Associated PressApril 12, 2010, 4:02 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – By most standards, Tiger Woods’ comeback would be deemed a success. He contended for a fifth Masters title when some wondered if he’d even make the cut. He took a step toward winning back fans who were appalled by the serial cheating on his wife.

Woods didn’t look at it that way.

He came back to the Masters to win, not just contend. To him, there was no joy and no relief in tying for fourth in his first tournament in five months, only disappointment and frustration.

tiger woods masters 2nd hole
A sloppy bunker shot at No. 2 was one of several low points during Woods' rollercoaster final round. (Getty Images)
“That’s not what I wanted,” Woods said Sunday after finishing five strokes behind Phil Mickelson. “I wanted to win this tournament. As the week wore on, I kept hitting the ball worse.”

He had vowed to tone down his emotions, try to smile a little more, acknowledge the fans every now and then. But that even temperament quickly faded as the poor shots piled up. He yelled at himself several times, loud enough for the gallery to hear and the television microphones to pick up. He flipped clubs away in anger.

Afterward, Woods got a bit testy when asked if the new Tiger was still a work in progress.

“I think people are making way too much of a big deal about this thing,” he said. “I’m not going to be walking there with a lot of pep in my step because I hadn’t hit a good shot yet.”

Woods did hit some good shots, of course. The best Sunday was an 8-iron that he holed from the fairway at No. 7 for an eagle. He followed with back-to-back birdies and made the turn just three strokes out of the lead, looking as though he was ready to make a charge.

But Woods has never come from behind on the final day to win a major, and this one wasn’t any different.

Another errant tee shot at the 11th led to a bogey. Then, an inexplicable three-putt from 6 feet ended his hopes at the 14th.

He did bounce back to make an eagle on the par-5 15th, but Mickelson was pulling away at that point. A short birdie putt at the final hole only assured that Woods tied K.J. Choi for fourth place.

“I had another terrible warmup,” Woods said. “I didn’t have it. And it was pretty evident.”

Yes it was, right from the start. He yanked his opening drive into the adjacent ninth fairway and wound up with a bogey. Two more bogeys followed in the next five holes, and he was on the verge of falling off the leaderboard.

Even though he turned things around before heading to the back side, Woods never felt he was a serious contender.

“I still was pretty far out of it,” he said. “The guys were making birdies on the easier holes and for most of the day I was four, five, six back. It’s a long way to climb and I was still making mistakes out there. I made too many mistakes.”

He seemed a little hard on himself.

But when Woods decided to return to golf at one of the biggest tournaments on the schedule, a place where he had captured four of his 14 career major titles, it was all in for the world’s top-ranked player.

He was here for a fifth green jacket. Nothing else was acceptable.

“I entered this event and I only enter events to win,” said Woods, whose wife Elin did not attend the tournament. “I didn’t get it done. I didn’t hit the ball good and I made too many mistakes around the greens. Consequently, I’m not there.”

This was Woods’ first tournament since November. A Thanksgiving night car crash had ripped his personal life apart, revealing a golfer with an impeccable reputation who was actually leading a sordid double life.

For a while mistresses were coming forward on an almost daily basis. Woods went into hiding and tried to figure out how to save his marriage. He even checked into rehab for 45 days, hoping to learn how it all went wrong, a process of self-examination that he admits revealed plenty of flaws.

Despite his disappointment Sunday, Woods clearly made the right personal decision to make his return at Augusta; it exhibits more control over ticketing and media credentials than any other tournament. Everyone expected the fans would be polite, and they seemed to warm to Woods as the week went on. The muted applause got louder and louder when it became apparent he would be a contender.

It might be different at future tournaments, where the crowds are rowdier and the tabloid media may have more success gaining access.

Woods is more concerned about getting his game in shape.

“Other than my backswing going bad and my downswing going bad, it wasn’t too bad,” he griped.

Woods said he’s not sure when he’ll play again, but the next stop in his comeback figures to be the Quail Hollow Championship, which begins April 29 in Charlotte, N.C. That would give him a tuneup for the Players Championship the following week, considered the biggest event on the PGA Tour outside of the four majors.

“I’m going to take a little time off,” is all Woods would say, “and kind of re-evaluate things.”


Even sweeter than Phil Mickelson slipping into another green jacket was seeing his wife waiting for him behind the 18th green Sunday at Augusta National with tears streaming down her face.

She had not been at a golf tournament since being diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months ago.

He had not looked the same ever since.

A shattered world seemed at peace in the fading sunlight Sunday at the Masters, where Mickelson made one last birdie for a 5-under 67 and a three-shot victory over Lee Westwood.

The conclusion was far more emotional than anyone expected.

“To win this tournament, it’s the most amazing feeling,” Mickelson said from Butler Cabin. “This has been a special day. I’ll look back on this day as very memorable, something I’ll always cherish.”

Determined to win one for his family, Mickelson made two remarkable par saves from the trees, then made a gutsy play off the pine straw and over Rae’s Creek on the par-5 13th hole. It was the kind of shot that has brought Mickelson so much criticism for taking too many risks. This time, nothing was going to stop him.

His final birdie only mattered on the scorecard, 16-under 272, the lowest by a Masters champion since Tiger Woods in 2001. Mickelson had this won as he walked up the 18th fairway to a massive ovation. He raised both arms when the putt fell, had a long embrace with caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay then walked toward the scoring hut and into Amy Mickelson’s arms.

Standing behind them was Mary Mickelson, his mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in July.
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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.