NASSAU, Bahamas – Tiger Woods dazzled during the final round of the Hero World Challenge, but he couldn’t quite keep pace with the leaders down the stretch. Here are some thoughts from wandering the sandy fairways alongside Woods one last time at the Hero World Challenge:
- There was a brief moment where it seemed like Woods would find his way to a sixth Hero title. Birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 gave him a one-shot lead at Albany, and he made the turn without dropping a shot. But he faltered on the easier inward half, shooting a final-round 69 to finish alone in fourth place and four shots behind winner Henrik Stenson.
- After four birdies over his first 11 holes, he didn’t make any over the last seven holes while playing the stretch in 1 over par.
- Woods was in the midst of what seemed like a three-man race with Stenson and Justin Thomas when things went awry on the 14th hole. A misplaced drive and two poor chips led to a bogey on the short par-4, and another errant drive on the next hole meant a par on the easy 15th. By that point, his title chances were toast.
- Woods’ late misses off the tee were magnified by his earlier accuracy. The shots at 14 and 15 were his first two missed fairways on a day when the more lingering sense of frustration came from his inability to convert birdie chances from a variety of lengths.
- It’s still a solid week for the tournament host, who broke 70 three straight rounds after an opening-round 72. “I had my chances,” Woods said. “I just didn’t make a lot of putts or birdies on the weekend.”
- One silver lining to Woods’ afternoon: he finally got the best of Justin Thomas. Paired together for the third straight day, Thomas’ closing double bogey meant a 70 to Woods’ 69. It’s the first time Woods has beaten Thomas in the 14 times they’ve played together on Tour (Thomas was 10-0-3).
- Tiger lamented his inability to hit it close, and that bogey-double finish to the opening round surely looms large. But he really let a few get away on the greens Saturday, missing several birdie putts from the 15-foot range and a couple from even closer. The 25-footer he made on No. 6 was the only notable putt of length that went in all afternoon.
- With the result Woods is expected to move up one spot to No. 6 in the world rankings, ahead of Patrick Cantlay but still behind Dustin Johnson and Thomas.
- Woods will now turn his attention to his captaincy for next week’s Presidents Cup, with the U.S. team boarding a charter from the Bahamas Saturday night that will land in Australia Monday morning. “We’re going to be locked in a tin can for 23 hours,” said Woods, who added that he’ll have meetings and discussions with the team members on the lengthy flight.