August 05, 2018

Tiger Says Goodbye to Firestone With a Closing Birdie

AKRON, Ohio – It wasn’t the weekend he envisioned, but Tiger Woods finished with a bang.

Playing in the last World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday at Firestone Country Club, where he has produced eight victories, he closed in style by sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green. Woods pumped his right fist, raised his putter skyward and smiled.

It culminated a rough two days, as he carded a pair of 3-over-par 73’s to tie for 31st at even-par 280. Justin Thomas pulled away for a four-shot win at 15-under 265.

“It certainly could have gone better,” said Woods, who finished outside the top eight for just the third time in 16 WGC starts at Firestone.

Coming off a tie for sixth at the Open Championship, Woods started strong at Firestone, posting 66-68 to secure a share of 10th place. It marked the first time he has opened with consecutive rounds in the 60’s since the 2015 Wyndham Championship.

Woods couldn’t sustain it Saturday and Sunday. He struggled with all parts of his game, hitting a combined 12 of 28 fairways and 19 of 36 greens. Woods did use a week-low 27 putts.

After managing only one birdie Saturday, he collected six Sunday, but the rest of his roller-coaster round was forgettable.

Woods posted just five pars – tying his fewest in any round on the PGA Tour. He also had five bogeys and two doubles.

“I was just trying to be as aggressive as possible and fire at everything,” he said. “It was either going to be a 62 or 63 or something in the mid-70s. I was just going to be aggressive and see what happens. I was so far back that I had to play a great round just to get in the top 10. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.”

Tiger is a finalist in the #MetLifeMatchUp where his shot was selected as one of the best recovery shots of the year. If Tiger wins, a donation of $750k will be donated to his charity, TGR Foundation. We ask that you help deserving scholars achieve a brighter future by voting for his shot. The contest runs from August 5th – 15th and you are able to vote up to 20 times per day. We thank you for your support!

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Paired with Wade Ormsby of Australia, the final round began promisingly for Woods, who birdied the first two holes with putts of eight and 18 feet, respectively. He nearly delivered a hat trick at the par-4 third, scaring the cup from 26 feet, then bogeyed two of the next three.

Woods steadied by canning a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-4 eighth and made the turn in 1-under 34.

The round soured at the par-4 10th, Woods failing to save par from eight feet. He rebounded with a birdie at the par-4 11th, but slipped with two bogeys and a double.

Woods added another birdie at the par-3 15th, then blasted a big drive at the par-5 16th. He went for the green in two but came up short in a pond, knocked his fourth shot over the green and departed with a double.

He won’t dwell on it.

Woods conceded he didn’t practice as much as usual. Right after the Open, he traveled to Switzerland for a family vacation.

“I pushed it hard through the Open and needed a break because this stretch coming up here is going to be a big stretch starting this week and through the (FedEx Cup) playoffs,” he said.

Woods begins preparation on Monday for the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. A four-time champion, it will be his 19th appearance and first since 2015. Woods tees off Thursday at 9:23 a.m. ET with Thomas and Rory McIlroy.

“I need to get after it tomorrow,” he said.

While it would have been fitting to capture his 80th PGA Tour title at Firestone, the club and fans will always be special to him. Next year, the tournament moves to Memphis and will be replaced by a Champions Tour event.

“I’m going to miss playing here,” Woods said. “I’m going to miss the people. I’ve had so many great memories and it’s just sad that we’re not coming back here anymore. I’ve always enjoyed playing here.”