Friday, November 17, 2017

Tiger hits five years without major win


PITTSFORD, N.Y. — It is now five straight years without a major title for Tiger Woods, who finished the PGA Championship at 4 over and tied for 40th Sunday.

He played well down the stretch, birdieing three of the last six holes. But all that got him was par 70. He never shot in the 60s in the tourney, despite much easier scoring conditions the first two days and warm, sunny weather the last two. "Is it concerning? No," said Woods, who has not broken par in eight rounds at Oak Hill. "It's more frustrating not being in it."

Woods was coming off his fifth PGA Tour win of the year, by seven strokes at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last weekend. "I put together four good rounds last week," he said. "Unfortunately, it wasn't this week. I didn't seem to hit it as good and didn't make many putts until the last few holes."

Woods is 0-for-18 in majors since winning the 2008 U.S. Open. He sits at 14 titles, four behind Jack Nicklaus' record. He'll be 38 at the 2014 Masters. The only player to win five-plus majors at 38-on is Ben Hogan (five). In his past eight majors, Woods is a combined 28 over on the weekend. In his past nine, he hasn't broken 70 on the weekend. "I've been there in half of (the majors)," he said. "If you are going to be in there three‑quarters or half of them with a chance to win on the back nine, you have just got to get it done."

McIlroy satisfied: Defending champion Rory McIlroy, winless in a year of struggles, is happy with his game after finishing with 70 to close at 3 under. He started the day with an outside shot at victory, six shots off the lead at 3 under. On No. 4 he had a 4-foot birdie putt that would have moved him to 5 under but missed it. Then he triple-bogeyed No. 5 after his second shot hit the green, trickled down the slope and onto the rocks, and he had to take a penalty drop. "I hit a good shot," he said. "I did exactly what I wanted to do, but it was in the exact wrong place. But everything else feels pretty good."

No worries, 'lefty' says: Phil Mickelson headed home to San Diego to tinker with his short game after 72 left him at 12 over, tied for 72nd and four shots out of last place. It was the British Open winner's worst 72-hole finish in a major since 73rd at the 2009 PGA. "I didn't play very well the last two weeks. I'm not going to worry about it," he said.

New territory for ex-'Nole: Woods' final-round partner was former Seminole Brooks Koepka, 23, in his first year on the European Tour and who got in with a special PGA of America exemption. Koepka, who made a major cut for the first time in three tries, was new to the large crowds following Woods. Starting the day 4 over, he bogeyed three of his first four holes, then triple bogeyed No. 5. "Just hearing everybody, it was unbelievable the people shouting (Woods') name," Koepka said.

He made the turn at 8 over for the day but settled down on the back nine (two birdies, one bogey). He was 7 over for the day, 11 over for the tournament.

"Really talented. Good kid," Woods said.


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