Woods comes up short; won't speculate on back


JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Tell me if this sounds familiar: Tiger Woods has a birdie putt at the 18th hole in the final round of The Barclays at Liberty National to force a playoff.

If it doesn't, it should. Because that's what happened at the 2009 edition of the FedEx Cup Playoffs' kick-off event. And it's exactly what happened in the 2013 edition, as well.

Woods posted a 2-under 69 in the final round at Liberty National, capping off four consecutive rounds in the 60s (67-69-69-69), falling short of winner Adam Scott by one at 11 under.

After making the turn Sunday at 11 under (3 under on his round), Woods made bogey at the 10th while playing partner Kevin Chappell made birdie to jump out to the solo lead at 13 under. 

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Photos: Woods felled by back pain

Chappell would go on to make double bogey at the 11th to Woods' par, and by the time they reached the 12th green, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland joined Chappell in a share of the lead at 11 under.

Woods hit iron off the tee at the 12th for the first time all week (in all previous rounds he hit fairway wood), with no visible signs of discomfort. Yet he later said it was the tee shot at 12 where he first noticed back pain.

'I felt great until that tee shot at 12,' Woods said. 'I was perfectly fine. I was playing pretty good, and I was hanging right there at the time ... and I was only one back.'

Many will say it was Woods' second shot at the par-5 13th that cost him the tournament. After hitting fairway wood off the tee to the left-center of the fairway, Woods went for the green in two and hit it so far left he nearly landed on the green ... of the 14th hole. He ended up in a hazard on the left side of the forward tee boxes of the adjacent 15th hole. Woods took a drop, then had a near-impossible flop shot to a pin five paces on the green. He chipped to 34 feet and two-putted for bogey, dropping another shot and falling to 9 under. It was around this time when Scott finished his round of 66 to take the clubhouse lead at 11 under.

Woods proceeded to par the 14th before making bogey at 15, getting back to even par for the day and 8 under for the tournament. He headed to the driveable par-4 16th (playing 299 yards Sunday) needing to go 3 under on his final 3 holes.

He hit a 282-yard 3-wood off the tee to 37 feet short of the green. He opted to putt his second shot to the elevated green where the pin was seven paces on. He rolled that to 3 feet and tapped in for birdie to move to 2 under, two off Scott.

Woods ripped a 3-wood off the tee at the 17th, hit an iron to 7 feet and rolled that in for birdie to move to 10 under, one shot back heading to the 18th.

All the stars were aligning. Woods was one birdie away from a Scott-Stevie playoff, looking to get his redemption at The Barclays, his sixth victory of the season, and to put any chatter of other Player of the Year candidates to rest.

Just as he needed, Woods sent a 3-wood soaring 296 yards down the 18th fairway. He hit a 9-iron for his approach and it rolled off the back of the green onto the fringe, settling 26 feet on a slope above the hole.

It wasn't a 7-footer like in 2009, but it was one last putt he needed to drop.

Woods examined the putt from every angle, walking onto the green and noticing the slope halfway to the hole. Woods went back to the putt and all of New Jersey held its breath. Probably some of New York, too.

As soon as Woods made contact, the putt looked like it had no shot of going in. It took off right, then slowly started to come back left, before trickling back to the right and coming up a mere rotation short of falling in.

The crowd erupted in unison, letting out one final 'Ohhhhhh!'

Woods finished in a tie for second alongside Graham DeLaet, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland.

Woods is scheduled to play next week's Deutsche Bank Championship, but when asked after the round if that was still the plan or if he needed time to rest and rehab his back he responded, 'That's all hypothetical right now. I just got off and I'm not feeling my best right now.'