Parts of the rest of the golf world may be sad now that Tiger Woods riveting streak is over. And dont get the idea that Woods is relieved, in any sense, because he didnt win the WGC - CA Championship at Doral Monday morning.
His next tournament is the Masters in three weeks. The sum total of his focus is now lasered on that tournament.
Woods fell two short of winner Geoff Ogilvy at Doral. And afterward he said this: I made too many mistakes.
Among them were four 3-putts over the 72 holes. That he ended up that close to first place, Woods said, was a great sign.
Woods wound up fifth at 15-under also behind three players'Vijay Singh, a resurgent Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk'tied for second. Ogilvy made just one bogey all week and didnt three-putt once.
Never, in recent memory, had there been such unanimous consent, before the start of a PGA TOUR event, who the eventual winner would turn out to be. From announcers, to TOUR pros, to swing gurus, to golf writers, to radio talk mike jockeys to fans of other sports.
The two words on the tip of every tongue were: Tiger Woods.
There was such a body of work and evidence to support his support. He had won seven straight tournaments worldwide coming into Doral, and that included five in a row on the PGA TOUR.
He had followed an opening 67 with a 66 on Friday to comfortably pull to within one shot of 36-hole leader Ogilvy. We had seen this script unfold before and that is why we were so surprised when Woods posted an even par 72 in a third round that began Saturday and didnt conclude (because of rain delays) until Sunday morning.
Woods third round included one bogey, one birdie (none on the four par 5s) and 16 pars. To use a NASCAR metaphor, Woods became stuck in neutral at a very inopportune time.
By the time the players got back on course for the final round, Woods trailed leader Ogilvy by five shots. He birdied the first and second holes and appeared poised to mount a familiar charge. Then, almost shockingly, he bogeyed the third (a hole that gave him driving problems all week) and the fourth. Then a photographers trigger finger in Woods backswing on No. 9 led to another bogey. And soon Woods body language was uncharacteristically negative.
When play was called Sunday Woods had seven holes remaining and five shots to make up on Ogilvy, who had nine holes left. Worse, Singh (-15), Furyk (-15), Graeme Storm (-14), Goosen (-13) and Adam Scott (-13) stood between Woods and the lead. Steve Stricker had already finished a blazing third round 63 and also sat at 13 under par.
And those guys, Ogilvy pointed out late Saturday, are not mugs.
That, too, was shocking in golf circles. All week long this WGC-CA had been guaranteed a great story line. Either Woods would win and take the streak with him to Augusta or a player would take him down and become the latest Tiger tamer. Fact is, four guys tamed Tiger at Doral.
When the horn blew to start play Monday morning, Woods promptly tugged his tee ball on the par 5 12th into a bunker. It forced a lay-up for his second. Not a good omen. But he made birdie on that hole and added birdies on 15 and 17 before running out of holes.
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