Tiger Woods had his chances –plenty of them. But where he failed in the final round of the Masters at Augusta National on Sunday, Adam Scott excelled and captured his first major and the coveted green jacket that Woods was heavily favored to secure.
It took two playoff holes in a steady rain, but with a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10, Scott, the Australian, outlasted Angel Cabrera, who forced the extra golf with a making a 3 on the par 4 18th. Scott finished at 9-under along with Cabrera. Woods, ranked No.1 in the world, was fourth at minus-5 after failing to break 70 for the fourth straight day.
He made three birdies on the back nine, but his lifeless front doomed him. While players around him were making a move, Woods stalled. He missed putts on eight holes that could have bolted him up the leaderboard. Combine his over-par first nine holes with his much-talked-about two-stroke penalty he incurred from Friday’s improper drop on the 15th hole, and it was too much for Woods to overcome.
“I certainly had a chance,” he said. “If I would have posted a number today, I was right there. I was four back starting out the day and I thought I really played well this week. I made my share of putts as well.”
But he missed too many to win, which was unlike how he putted in winning two tournaments this year. Woods finished tied for fourth place with Marc Leishman at 5-under par.
Woods birdied the ninth, 10th, 12th and 13th holes and then gave himself a chance for an eagle at the 15th, where he two-putted for another birdie. And when he hit his tee shot about 10 feet behind the hole at the par-3 16th, there was a chance to get within 2 strokes of the lead.
But the putt slid by on the low side, and Woods was simply out of holes. And Woods missed three putts on Saturday inside 5 feet–including a 2-footer at the eighth hole that circled the cup and stayed out.
“Well, we could do a what-if on every tournament we lose,” Woods said. “We lose more tournaments than we win. But I certainly had my opportunities to post some good rounds this week. I thought I really played well, I missed a few putts this week, but also I made my share as well. I made a bunch of 10- to 15-footers. So overall it was a pretty good week.”
On Sunday, he again was unable to birdie the par-5 second — he parred it all four days — and also saw other opportunities get away from him, leaving several putts short.
“I really struggled with the green speeds starting out,” Woods said. “I couldn’t believe how much slower they were even, this is before it rained. I just couldn’t believe how slow they were starting out. Because yesterday, they were so fast and they were crusty, they were running out, and I think the first eight holes I didn’t think I got a putt to the hole. Everything was short or low-sided.
“So finally on 9, I said I’m going to hit this putt past the hole and it just snuck in on the front lip.”
He will head to Merion for the U.S. Open in June, having gone five years without adding to his major championship victory total of 14.