Woods Ties For 23rd In The Memorial Tournament
DUBLIN, Ohio – Tiger Woods continues to progress as he pursues his 80th PGA Tour victory.
It didn’t happen Sunday in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club, where he owns a record five wins. But there were more good signs.
The 42-year-old Woods gave himself another opportunity Sunday with two early birdies, just couldn’t generate momentum after that. Struggling with his putter all week, Woods closed with an even-par 72 and tied for 23rd at 9-under 279, six strokes behind winner Bryson DeChambeau.
“I had some good chances to shoot some good rounds this week,” Woods said. “Overall, my game is where it needs to be heading into the U.S. Open, and that’s something that’s very positive.”
After missing most of the last two years with back injuries, Woods has now finished 23rd or better in six of nine starts this season.
Tee to green, it was his best performance. He led the field in strokes gained (+14.157), approach-to-the-green (+11.164) and proximity (23 feet, eight inches), and ranked third in strokes gained-around-the-green (+4.977).
Woods’ putter held him back. He three-putted five times, missed a half-dozen inside six feet, and finished with 113 total putts to rank 72nd (-7.695).
“I just need to hit better putts,” he said. “I didn’t feel completely comfortable with my line and my feel was a little bit off. Consequently I missed a bunch of putts.”
His longest sink was from 15 feet.
“If I just putt normally, I’m probably with those guys in the last couple groups,” said Woods.
For the week, he toured the par-5s in 10-under, fourth-best in the field.
Woods began the final round tied for seventh, five strokes off the pace. He accomplished that despite falling 4-over par after seven holes on Thursday.
Paired with Whee Kim and J.B. Holmes, Woods got the start he wanted by making birdie at the par-4 first, dropping a 14-foot putt.
He gave himself more good birdie looks at the par-4 second and third holes, but just missed from 20 and 11 feet, respectively.
At the par-5 fifth, Woods pulled his drive into the left rough, but hooked a sweet approach shot onto the front of the water-guarded green and two-putted for a birdie from 45 feet.
An errant approach caught a greenside bunker at the par-4 sixth. As was the case all week, Woods’ saved himself with another sweet sand shot and salvaged par with a seven-foot putt.
The next three holes proved pivotal. Woods was unable to birdie any of them, a miss at the par-4 ninth especially painful, as he turned in 2-under.
A frustrated Woods found a fairway bunker at the par-4 10th and was forced to lay up. With rain starting to fall, he punched a low wedge within four feet of the pin but couldn’t convert, sustaining his first bogey.
Woods got it back with a nice birdie at the par-5 11th, spinning his third shot with a wedge from 95 yards four feet below the cup. He carved a beautiful tee shot about eight feet from the hole at the par-3 12th, but couldn’t capitalize.
Smarting from the miss, Woods blocked his drive right at the par-4 13th, hit a tree and the ball bounced out of bounds. It marked his second o.b. of the tournament.
Woods crushed his provisional tee shot, leaving a wedge to the green. He minimized the damage by knocking a wedge to six feet and escaped with a bogey.
For the first time all week, Woods split the fairway with a big drive at the uphill par-5 15th. He went for the green in two with a long iron, but tugged it left and hit a spectator on the steep and grassy slope. After rewarding the fan with a signed glove, Woods executed a flop shot that tumbled 15 feet under the hole and two-putted for a par.
For the second consecutive day, he three-putted the par-3 16th for a bogey, lipping out a four-footer. Woods two-putted the last two holes for pars.
On the day, he hit 10 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens and used 31 putts.
Woods was an accumulative 13-under on the front nine and 4-over on the back.
“I hit it really good this week,” Woods said. “I haven’t hit it like this for a while.”
He was very appreciative to tournament host Jack Nicklaus and the Memorial crowds for treating him so well.
“It’s one of my favorite stops,” he said. “The people are into it and so supportive.”
Woods moved up four spots in the FedExCup point standings to No. 50, and should climb a few places in the World Golf Ranking (80).
Next up is the U.S. Open Championship, June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. He will seek his 15th major crown and is more than a little enthused.
“I’ve had little building blocks along the way, and I keep getting a little bit better, a little bit more refined, and you start to see the results,” he said. “I’m starting to hit the ball better. If I just make a few more putts like I did earlier in the year, when I was putting really well, you put those two together, then we’ll have something.”