The website of the 2013 British Open has a countdown of the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the start of the third major of the season.
Another clock is ticking on Tiger Woods. It is five years and counting since his last victory in a major.
Woods will get his next shot at a major in the British Open July 18-21 at Muirfield in Scotland.
He didn’t come close this week in the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He shot a final-round 74 Sunday to finish 13 over par, his worst score in an Open since he was 14 over as an amateur in 1996.
Meanwhile, Justin Rose of England came from behind to win his first major on the ultra difficult course, finishing at plus-1. Phil Mickelson needed a birdie on the last to force a playoff and, instead, made bogey.
Sunday was five years to the day since Woods’ last major title — the Monday playoff against Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in California.
That victory was Woods’ 14th major title. He’s still looking for the next one in his bid to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.
“There’s always a lesson to be learned in every tournament whether you win or lose,” Woods said Sunday after a final round that came off the rails early with a triple bogey eight on the second hole.
“I’ll look back at the things I did right and the things I did wrong. … I did a lot of things right. Unfortunately, I did a few things wrong.”
More than a few, actually.
In four rounds at Merion, Woods had 10 birdies, 20 bogeys and that triple bogey, which started with a tee shot that flew out of bounds. His main problem throughout the week, however, was on the greens. He had five three-putts and missed an array of short putts for pars and birdies.
He also struggled with an elbow problem. It was clearly evident on Thursday and Friday, when he winced in pain several times when firing shots out of Merion’s deep rough.
Despite the weekend struggles, Woods was right in the mix through 36 holes, 3 over par and four shots out of the lead. His tournament basically ended Saturday when he shot a 6-over 76.
Next up for Woods will be his own tournament, the June 27-30 AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. He could add another event, the July 4-7 Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. Woods missed the cut at Greenbrier last year.
Then comes the British Open.
He knows Congressional well. He knows Muirfield. He never quite figured out Merion.
“I struggled with the speed (of the greens) all week,” Woods said. “These greens are grainy. It’s one of the older, bent grasses, creeping bent. … I struggled with the speed, especially right around the hole. Putts were breaking a lot more. I gave it a little more break and then it would hang. That’s kind of the way it was this week.”
Read more: USA Today.