Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club

The Loop

Soltau: Putting Costs Tiger

April 13, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods had just come up short in the 72nd Masters and was waiting to be interviewed by Bill Macatee of CBS. It had been a long, frustrating tournament for the four-time champion, who fought a balky putter all week.

Inside, the world's top golfer was crushed. But he didn't let it show.

"Hello? Hello? Hello? Can you hear me, Lance?" Macatee said into the microphone to producer Lance Barrow, waiting for the signal to begin the interview.

"First time?" cracked Woods.

Laughter all around. A much-needed light moment after 72 holes of grinding and heartbreak.

Woods, 32, has won 13 professional majors, and he hates finishing second. He often calls it, "First loser."

For the record, Woods has finished second in five majors, including three of the last five and four of the last 11. He likely had a long talk with his putter Sunday night on the flight home to Florida.

Tee to green,Woods gave himself every opportunity to win a fifth green jacket. He just never felt comfortable with his putting stroke. His speed was good; his alignment wasn't.

"I hit the ball well enough to win this golf tournament," said Woods. "I just did not make enough putts."

Make no mistake, he tried everything. Woods even hooked his putts.

"On these greens, you have to hit them perfectly or they won't go in," he said.

Touring the usually inviting par 5s in a combined four under par didn't help, either. Or going one for six in sand saves.

Earlier this year, Woods stated his goal was to win the Grand Slam. "Easily within reach," he said.

But then, Woods expects to win every tournament.

"I give it my best shot," said Woods. "That's all I can do. It just didn't happen."

Woods will head to Las Vegas next week to host Tiger Jam XI, where the headliner is Van Halen. He needs a break from his putter.

--Mark Soltau