April 18, 2018
After weeks of hype and a return to the Masters Tournament after three years that were fairly disappointing, the 14-time major champion is looking forward to a break before resetting again. Tiger (1 over) finished tied for 32nd at Augusta National and moved to 88th in the world rankings!
Patrick Reed won his first major title on Sunday at the Masters, edging out Rickie Fowler by one stroke and holding off a big comeback by Jordan Spieth. “Generally after this tournament, I put away the clubs for a while,” said Woods, who had just shot his best score of the week in his final round Sunday (3-under-par 69). “I usually take three to four weeks off, through 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’ve been victorious four times over the course of my career, and it’s very tiring.”
This year, Tiger struggled to put it all together in his sixth tournament of the year in his comeback from spinal fusion surgery.
His play on the par-5s plagued him for the first three rounds, then he played them in 5-under-par Sunday, making his first eagle of the year. But he missed many short birdie putts on the front nine and three-putted the 18th for a bogey. All week, Woods fought with his iron play, which prevented him from having more manageable birdie opportunities.
“It was surprising for him,” caddie Joe LaCava said. I think it’s by far the strength of his game. From 150 yards in, it was not very good, which isn’t much like him. So the first word that comes to mind is disappointing as a whole, knowing he’s playing halfway decent coming in. But I tell people the same thing: It’s six tournaments. Let’s not get carried away. He was certainly trending in the right direction, so to finish 35th or whatever he finished … it sucks, disappointing for sure.”
In addition, his caddie was optimistic about some parts of his performance: “The good news is he’s, like, money with the driving, but he can’t hit the green with a lob wedge. It’s beyond weird. It’s not like him.” Woods mostly blamed his performance on the sport of golf itself, a game that constantly perplexes. He said Sunday’s 69 was the best score he could have shot, it was his Sunday goal. He missed five putts from inside 6 feet and had two three-putts. He hit 15 of 18 greens but took 32 putts. The four-time Masters champion stated that in the big picture, he was glad to be back competing again at a place that he missed.
“He was here for one reason,” LaCava said. “It was never like, ‘It feels great to be back at Augusta National.’ I heard more ‘It sucks’ than I heard ‘It’s great to be back.’ But today was one round, he played a little better, and he concluded on a positive note.”
Woods will move into the top 100 in the world for the first time in three years! He’ll also move up a few spots from 44th in the FedEx Cup standings. His next tournament will most likely be the Wells Fargo Championship in just over three weeks, followed by the Players Championship.
“I think things are progressing,” Woods said. “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 six tournaments into it, to be able to compete out here and to score like I did, it feels good.”
Check out some of his best shots from the 2018 Masters Tournament!