Tiger Woods unable to solve Merion mystique
Like every tournament he has played in this season, Tiger Woods was a popular pick to win the U.S. Open this past weekend at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA.
Woods hadn’t won a major since his memorable 2008 U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines, beating Rocco Mediate in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff while hobbled by an ailing left knee. This week was supposed to be different, as a torrid start to a season that already includes four victories and a top-5 finish at the Masters would be capped off by another major championship.
It’s safe to say things didn’t go as planned for Woods, who finished the tournament at 13-over par, his worst finishing score ever at a major, according to ESPN’s SportsCenter Twitter account.
Tiger was better than the field average in fairways hit (70% to 62%) and greens in regulation (65% to 59%) but couldn’t seem to solve Merion’s greens, racking up 128 putts over the four rounds.
“I struggled with the speed, especially right around the hole; putts were breaking a lot more, I gave it a little more break and then it would hang. That’s kind of the way it was this week,” Woods told the Huffington Post following a 74 on Sunday.
Entering the weekend, he sat only four shots off the lead, and only three after a birdie on his first hole. Things went south from there, as Woods ended up with a 76 to all but eliminate him from contention before Sunday’s final round had even started.
Sunday wasn’t much better for the 14-time major champion, carding a triple bogey on his second hole of the day en route to the four-over 74.
During the weekend, Woods carded 11 bogeys and that triple bogey while only scoring four birdies, leading to his worst major finish. He finished 12 shots back of the eventual winner Justin Rose, who completed the tournament at 1-over par.
“There’s always a lesson to be learned in every tournament whether you win or lose. I’ll look back at the things I did right and the things I did wrong,” he said.
Tiger will have to put those lessons learned from his failure at the U.S. Open behind him as he prepares for the season’s third major, the British Open, which tees off July 18 at Muirfield.