The colors were the same — red and black, as always — even if the guy wearing them was sporting an unfamiliar gaiter around his neck and an unusually early tee time.
Tiger Woods had spent most of the week looking ordinary. Not great, not awful, just ordinary. But then, with the pressure off and no crowds in attendance to murmur and cheer his every move, Woods relaxed and put together the finest round of his tournament. His five-birdie, two-bogey Sunday was exactly what he needed after two straight two-over rounds that bounced him from any hope of contention. Woods finished with a 67 on the round and 1-under on the week.
“I think what I got out of this week is that I felt I was competitive,” Woods said. “If I would have made a few more putts on Friday early on, and the same thing with Saturday, I felt like I would have been right there with a chance come today.”
As of Saturday night, Woods fell to 59th place, 11 strokes off Dustin Johnson’s lead. He struggled all week with his putting, unable to get accustomed to the speed of the greens. But Sunday afternoon, he managed to find another gear, particularly on the back nine.
“I feel like I putted a little bit better today,” Woods said after his round. “The greens weren’t as quick, and definitely weren’t as crusty ... The golf course was playing a little slower.”
Woods now has a few weeks to get ready for the year’s two remaining majors: September’s U.S. Open and November’s Masters. He’ll be able to play through at least the early rounds of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs. If he can figure out how to channel what he brought to TPC Harding on Sunday, particularly on the green, he’ll have a better chance of staying in contention longer in the weekend
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips and story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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