DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tiger Woods allowed a promising round to disintegrate over the closing holes Sunday at Muirfield Village Golf Club, nullifying any possibility of confidence-building experience leading into the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay a week from Thursday.
A day after careening to a career-worst 85 in the third round of the Memorial Tournament, Woods appeared on his way to a semblance of competence before playing his last four holes in four over par and submitting a pedestrian two-over 74. Five-time winner of the Memorial, Woods ended up last at 14-over 302, his worst aggregate score as a professional. Only his scattershot performance in the 2010 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational -- after splitting with coach Hank Haney -- was worse in relation to par when he finished at 18-over 298.
Of course, Woods looked at his fifth tournament start of the year in zero-sum terms.
"I did not win, and I wasn't even close," he said, after playing without a partner in the day's first tee time. "Hopefully, in two weeks time things will be a lot better, and I'll be ready to try to win a U.S. Open."
He has a lot of work to do, even more than the effort he expended at Muirfield Village, where he pounded so many balls that he opened an ugly blister on the inside of his left index finger. Sunday's round had the makings of a bounce-back outing as he hit seven of his first nine fairways and reached three under par through 11 holes. But bogeys at 13 and 17 and double bogeys at 15 and 18 ruined the outing.
For the week he suffered six double bogeys, most in his career. He played the 17th and 18th holes alone in eigh over par on the weekend and he was 16 over par for the week on the back nine, so finishing off a round is an issue.
Say this for him: he didn't mail it in.
"Just trying to shoot under par," he shrugged when asked what he was playing for so far out of contention. "Just go out there and shoot the best score I possibly can. Just because I'm in last place doesn't change how I play golf. Whether it's the first day or the last day doesn't matter, play all out."