Tiger Woods has to wait eight months to resume his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’s record 18 major golf championships after a 40th-place finish at the PGA Championship extended his Grand Slam drought to five years.
The world’s No. 1-ranked golfer is now winless in his last 18 starts in the sport’s four majors.
Woods had top-10 finishes at the Masters Tournament and the British Open this year. He failed to shoot below par during any round at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.
“I was right there and certainly had a chance to win the Masters and the British,” Woods said yesterday after finishing 14 shots behind champion Jason Dufner in the PGA at Oak Hill Country Club outside Rochester, New York. “The other two, I just didn’t hit it good enough. Just the way it goes.”
Woods entered the PGA Championship off his eighth victory at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, where he was a seven-shot winner in the World Golf Championships event. He failed to carry that momentum to Oak Hill, opening with a 1-over-par 71 and following with rounds of 70, 73 and 70.
“I put four good rounds together last week, unfortunately it wasn’t this week,” Woods, a four-time PGA champion, said yesterday. “I didn’t give myself many good looks and certainly didn’t hit the ball good enough to be in it.”
Nicklaus said in a televised interview with the Golf Channel that Woods is “pressing” in the majors. He said he still thinks Woods will surpass his total of 18 Grand Slam tournament wins.
Woods has time to add to his five U.S. PGA Tour victories this season. He won’t get a chance to boost his major total until the 2014 Masters, which is held in April at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.
“We have a long way to go to that and I have a lot of golf to play between now and then,” Woods said.
Woods tied for fourth at this year’s Masters, four shots out of a playoff. His week in Augusta, Georgia, may be best remembered for the two-stroke penalty he was assessed following the second round for an improper drop.
Woods in June failed to break par in any round at the U.S. Open, where he tied for 32nd place at 13-over par at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania. The next month he tied for sixth place at the British Open after a final-round 74 at Muirfield in Scotland.
Woods, whose longest previous stretch without a major title was 10 in a row from 2002 to 2004, has had top-six finishes in nine of his last 18 majors since the 2008 U.S. Open victory.
“Is it concerning? No,” Woods said. “I’ve been there in half of them. So that’s about right. If you are going to be in three-quarters or half of them with a chance to win on the back nine, you have just got to get it done.”