Woods finally got some putts to drop, making an eagle and five birdies in a round of 65 to get to even-par 213 for the tournament. He improved 16 shots on his Saturday round, an 81 that was the worst of his professional career.
That bad news for Woods? Had he shot 75 Saturday, he would have finished the tournament 6 under and been in the playoff. Oh, well. The calendar Slam is safe for another year.
Tales from the Tabloids
Woods' 81 was the big story of the day in the United Kingdom. A sampling:
The Daily Express: "Tiger Blown Away."
The Daily Mirror: "Down and Out."
Scotland on Sunday: "Hacked Off: 10 Over Par Tiger Finds Out How The Rest Of Us Feel."
Hole of the Day
Ernie Els played it three times Sunday, and he parred it each time. First, he made a two-putt par on the 72nd hole to get into a four-way playoff. He parred it again as part of the last hole of an aggregate playoff. Then it was back to the 18th for sudden death with Thomas Levet.
Levet gave Els an opening when he hit his tee shot in a fairway bunker, using a driver. Els was in the middle of the fairway. But Els couldn't get his ball on the green, hitting it in a fairway bunker. Levet made a bogey, but Els had to get up and down from the bunker, hitting an awkward sand shot to 5 feet and holing the par putt for the victory.
The 18th yielded four birdies Sunday and was the second-most difficult hole of the round, playing to an average of 4.289.
Grand company: Muirfield produces great champions. The 12 previous winners of the Open Championship had won a combined 78 of the major titles that comprise the modern grand slam events, and Ernie Els adds three majors to the list.
Holding up: With little added protection, just an increase of a bit more than 30 years, Muirfield stood proud against today's pros and their high-octane equipment. Many wondered if the major championship record of 63 might fall at a course that has been mostly unchanged since Nick Faldo last won the Open here 10 years ago.
Next time: The 132nd Open Championship returns to England next year, at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, southeast of London.