Woods shot a 2-over-par 74 yesterday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, following rounds of 72, 75 and 72. He tied for 40th place out of 62 finishers, 15 shots behind Bubba Watson, who won in a playoff.
The worst previous Masters finish as a professional for the four-time champion was a tie for 22nd in 2004, when he had rounds of 75, 69, 75 and 71. He has 12 career top-10 finishes at the season’s first major championship and hadn’t finished outside the top six the past seven years.
“You’re not going to play well every week and unfortunately it was this week for me,” Woods, a 14-time major champion, told reporters. “I had the wrong ball-striking week at the wrong time.”
Woods, 36, arrived in Augusta off a win in his last start, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first U.S. PGA Tour victory in 2 1/2 years. Woods was the pre-tournament favorite of oddsmakers, yet extends a major championship drought that stretches back to the 2008 U.S. Open.
“On a golf course like this, if you’re just a yard off here and there, you end up 40-50 feet away,” Woods said.
Woods hit 32 of 56 fairways off the tee, a 57 percent accuracy rate that’s second-worst in the field. He also failed to take advantage of the par-5 holes at Augusta National, with two birdies and one bogey over four rounds.
Woods didn’t have a birdie or eagle on the four par-5s in the second or third round, something he’d done only twice in his previous 17 Masters appearances.
“This is a golf course you have to dominate the par-5s and I didn’t do that all week,” Woods said.
Woods’s displeasure with his play boiled over at one point in the second round, when he dropped and then kicked his 9-iron in frustration after a poor tee shot at the par-3 16th hole. He apologized for his actions following the third round.
Woods’s next chance for a major title will come at the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco from June 14-17.
Asked if he still has faith in swing changes he’s made with coach Sean Foley, Woods said it remains a work in progress.
“I can get it on the range and get it dialed in there. It feels really good,” Woods said outside the Augusta National locker room. “Then when I go to the golf course I just don’t quite trust it. It just means that I need to do more reps.”
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