For a few moments, it looked as if Muirfield Village’s course record of 61 was in jeopardy. Tiger Woods had just played the first nine holes in 31, and he hit it tight on Nos. 10 and 12 while making a long birdie putt in between on No. 11. Things were moving quickly for everyone involved, and nothing was moving more quickly than Tiger’s last name straight up the leaderboard.
When he poured in the 11-footer on the 12th hole to get to 7 under (!) on the day, everything was in play. Yes, leader Martin Kaymer was galloping early, but Tiger looked as if he might not make another par. Then he did. Actually, he made a lot of them, and he sprinkled in two bogeys, too. Woods played the last six holes in 2 over to shoot a 5-under 67. It was a great final round score — one of the best of the day — but after the start Woods got off to, I couldn’t help but think it felt a little bit like a disappointment.
Here’s a detailed look at Tiger’s last round before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Front nine (5-under 31): Woods did not hit a single shot from tee to green that lost him strokes to the field. That’s what happens when you hit all seven fairways and all nine greens in regulation. His putter wasn’t perfect — although it was quite good — but it didn’t have to be. Woods could have putted blindfolded on this side of the course and still shot something under par.
Back nine (even-par 36): After a 2-under start through three holes on the back nine, Tiger couldn’t quite keep the gas to the floor. His misses were a little wider, his putting didn’t quite make up for it. He didn’t play poorly on the tougher side of the course by any means — his bogeys came at Nos. 14 and 18 — but he wasn’t perfect like he was to start. He hit five fairways instead of all seven. He hit five greens instead of all nine. Tiger needed to be absolutely perfect on Sunday, and even then it may not have mattered. He wasn’t perfect late though, and it cost him even a modicum of hope.
What went well: It’s all systems go for me into the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. I joked about this on Twitter, but after Bethpage Black, I did some real considering about where Woods is at philosophically. This week erased a lot of that for me. He was awesome from tee to green on Sunday, which was an exclamation point on how he hit it all week (three top-20 tee-to-green performances in four rounds).
I know he’s comfortable here, but I loved what I saw.
What went poorly: I guess if I had to pick something, he was a little leaky coming home with his shorter and middle irons. His missed greens in regulation came from the following distances on the back nine. That wasn’t super encouraging, but the front nine more than made up for it for me.
- 132 yards
- 137 yards
- 189 yards
- 184 yards
Shot of the day: It wasn’t the one that finished closest to the hole, but goodness, this from 236 yards away was pretty pure. It also led to one of his five birdies on the front nine.
Where he stands and what’s next: Woods was T8 at the time he finished and will likely not move that far away from there for the rest of the day. Interestingly, it would be only his third top-10 finish of 2019 at a stroke play event, but it’s a pretty great way to head into the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach where he won (historically) in 2000 and finished T4 in 2010.