Tiger Woods said his retooled golf swing didn’t hold up in windy conditions at the Dubai Desert Classic, where he fell out of contention in the final round and finished seven shots behind winner Alvaro Quiros.
Woods, seeking his first victory since November 2009, shot a 3-over-par 75 yesterday to finish in a tie for 20th. It was his worst performance in six appearances at a tournament he won in 2006 and 2008.
Woods, who started reworking his swing in August with new coach Sean Foley, was two shots off the lead with seven holes to play at Emirates Golf Club. He bogeyed the 12th and 14th holes before closing with a double-bogey at the par-5 18th, where he hit his third shot into a water hazard.
“All of my old feels are out the window when the wind blows,” Woods, 35, said during a news conference. “It’s fine when the wind is not blowing, but when I have to hit shots and the wind blows, the change of feels and the new swing patterns, they get exposed.”
Spain’s Quiros finished with an 11-under-par total of 277, one stroke better than South Africa’s James Kingston and Denmark’s Anders Hansen. Quiros, 28, eagled the par-4 second hole and made a hole-in-one at the par-3 11th hole. His ace came three holes after he’d lost his ball in the branches of a palm tree and made a triple bogey.
“It’s always difficult to make a hole-in-one, but in a final round, and being in contention, it’s even more exciting,” said Quiros, who entered the tournament at No. 36 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Quiros collected a check for 301,353 euros ($408,500) after claiming his fifth European Tour title.
Woods, who has fallen to third in the world during his winless run, was among several players to fade during the final round. Spain’s Sergio Garcia tied Woods at 4-under for the tournament after also carding a 3-over round yesterday.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy dropped to 10th and world No. 1 Lee Westwood of England dropped three shots on the last two holes to finish tied for 15th.
Woods entered the final round one shot off the lead after rounds of 71, 66 and 72. He said he saw “quite a few positives” and a couple of “glaring examples” of what he needs to work on. Following a clean second round, Woods had eight bogeys and two double bogeys during the weekend.
“I’ve been through this before with my last two instructors, and it will come around,” said Woods. “I just need more work and more practice.”