It just wasn’t meant to be.
Call it karma, but the golf gods weren’t on Tiger Woods side during the final round of The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.
From his first tee shot on Sunday afternoon, which he brutally hooked, Woods struggled with his swing, bogeying three of his first five holes. His eagle on the seventh hole and back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth holes were merely a tease for fans hoping for a miraculous comeback.
Woods trailed just three strokes heading into the back nine but saw his chances of winning evaporate on the 11th hole. He hit his tee shot into the trees and striking a pine tree on his second shot, setting up for a bogey on the hole.
Woods finished tied for fourth with an 11-under 277, five strokes behind winner and rival Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson avoided his typical Sunday meltdown and shot 16-under 272 for a three-stroke victory over Lee Westwood. It was Mickelson’s third green jacket and his fourth overall major championship.
Of all the people Woods had to watch celebrate at the 18th hole, it’s fitting that it was his long time rival in Mickelson, whose personal stories are night and day at this point in their careers.
On the one hand, you have Woods coming back from a four-month self-imposed hiatus following a scandalous sex scandal that nearly destroyed his marriage and public image.
And on the other hand, you have Mickelson, who was struggling all year on the PGA Tour while dealing with his wife and mother’s battle with breast cancer. Mickelson’s wife, Amy, traveled to Augusta to be with her husband but the medication for her cancer treatment forced her to remain in bed all weekend – – until the 18th hole with her husband one hole away from victory.
Did you really think the karma gods were going to let good win over evil? Not even Tiger’s golf game could defeat fate.
Woods did his best though, battling a 20-week layoff from the PGA Tour and the immense pressure of knowing that all eyes were glued on him all weekend.
Nobody, not even Tiger, could have predicted the type of round Woods would have on Thursday.
He shot an opening round 4-under 68, breaking 70 for the first time in 16 appearances. If it weren’t for a little rust on his short game, Woods could have easily been in contention for the course record of 63.
Woods was in contention all weekend but he wasn’t able to take his game to the next level. The only trademark thing about his performance on Sunday was his red Nike shirt. We saw signs of the old Tiger all weekend, which was not always a good thing. After telling the media during his press conference last Monday that he would treat the game with more respect and cut back on his outbursts, Woods reverted back to his old ways.
Following a poor tee shot on the par-3 sixth hole on Saturday, Woods yelled out “Tiger Woods, you suck, God da** it,” loud enough to be heard on television. Woods wasn’t even aware of the poor choice of words when grilled by reporters and said, “If I did, then I’m sorry.”
Woods should have saved the apology because he had another audible outburst Sunday on the 13th hole, yelling “God, Tiger! Jesus Christ,” after a poor drive.
“I think people are making way too much of this thing,” Woods said. “I hit a big snipe off the first hole, and I don’t know how people can think I should be happy about that … and I hit one of the worst, low, quack hooks on 5 [off the tee]. I’m not going to be walking around there with a lot of pep in my step.”
Don’t expect to see Woods and his potty mouth on the golf course next weekend at the Verizon Heritage in South Carolina. Woods said he didn’t know when he would return and needed time off to reevaluate.
You know what they say about karma …