Tiger Woods finds sub-70 Masters round encouraging
While the big picture of Tiger Woods returning for his first competitive major weekend in three years is encouraging, the little picture didn’t particularly please him.
“I think things are progressing,” Woods said in a muted attempt at positive spin after his 3-under 69 on Sunday at Augusta National. “And it was a little bit disappointing I didn’t hit my irons as well as I needed to for this particular week. You miss it just a touch here, it gets magnified. And I just didn’t do a good enough job this week in that regard. But overall I’m five or six tournaments into it, to be able to compete out here and to score like I did, it feels good.”
Woods’ tie for 32nd is his second worst finish in 19 professional starts at the Masters, ahead of only his 40th-place finish in 2012. But considering it’s his first made cut in a major since the 2015 Masters a couple of back surgeries ago, the fact that he is back on the big stage is a major accomplishment.
“This is one of the greatest walks in all of golf,” Woods said of Augusta National. “And I had missed it for the last couple of years I hadn’t been able to play in it. So now I’m glad I’m competing in this tournament. And to face the challenges out there. I missed it. I really did. I missed playing out here. I missed competing against these guys. Such a great event. Best-run event in all of our sport.”
Sunday provided glimpses of the old Tiger at Augusta. He finally found his touch on the par-5s after failing to capitalize on them all week, making birdies on Nos. 2, 8 and 13 before draining a 29-foot putt at No. 15 for his only eagle of the week.
“That will be going onto the mantle at home,” Woods said of the 14th pair of crystal glasses he’s collected for eagles in his Masters career.
His effort to match his career-low Masters round of 65 was derailed by four bogeys Sunday.
“Yes, today would have been one of those low rounds,” Woods lamented. “I certainly had the opportunity to do it. I was close to really, really getting it rolling.”
Now Woods will go underground for a few weeks of gym work before getting his game geared up for an expected return at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., before the Players Championship.
“Generally after this tournament I put away the clubs for a while,” Woods said. “I usually take three to four weeks off, throughout my entire career, and usually the clubs are put in the closet and I just kind of get away for a while. The run-up to this event is pretty hard and pretty grueling. I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready. And I peaked at it four times over the course of my career and it’s tiring.”