DUBLIN, Ohio – A tumultuous week for Tiger Woods came to a close with an even-par 72 Sunday at Muirfield Village, though the defending champion may have salvaged some momentum heading into the U.S. Open thanks to a second-nine rally.
For the second consecutive day, Woods put himself in a hole early, playing the first five holes in 4 over. From there he made a steady comeback thanks to consistent ball-striking, notching five birdies across his final 13 holes. He ended the week at 8-over 296, 20 shots behind eventual champion Matt Kuchar, but assessed his round Sunday with a certain level of optimism.
“It wasn’t that bad today,” he told reporters. “It was just one hole that cost me obviously a few shots.”
The hole in question was the par-3 12th, which stung Woods for the second consecutive day. After making a double bogey during the third round, the five-time Memorial champion carded a triple-bogey 6 Sunday after finding a difficult lie in a greenside bunker and three-putting from close range. After the round, Woods was quick to attribute his overall struggles this week to his work on the greens.
“I didn’t putt very well. I had bad speed all week,” explained Woods, who took 29 putts after reaching 13 of 18 greens in regulation Sunday. “I thought the greens didn’t look that fast, but they were putting fast. I could never get the speed of them.”
After finishing the week in a tie for 65th, his worst Memorial result since a T-67 finish in his debut in 1997, Woods was able to quickly put a week filled with bad bounces, near misses and difficult stances into perspective.
“It’s just one of those weeks. It happens,” he added. “At Honda I had two lost balls. It just happens, and it happened to be one of those weeks.”
As he now turns his attention to hoisting a major trophy for the 15th time, Woods will look to build upon the momentum garnered from the manner in which he ended his week at Muirfield Village. He found each of the last nine fairways during the final round – a stat he would love to replicate in two weeks across the narrow fairways at Merion – and made five birdies in a nine-hole stretch from Nos. 15 through 5 to claw back to even par on the day. Following the round, Woods made no qualms about the areas in which he hopes to improve before the season’s second major.
“Everything,” he noted. “You want everything clicking on all cylinders, especially at the U.S. Open, because everything is tested at the U.S. Open.”