Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 22:44
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 22:01
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – It was another wonky weekend for Tiger Woods at a major championship.
Woods shot an even-par 72 on Sunday - after finishing a third-round 74 earlier in the day - and ended up 11 strokes behind winner Rory McIlroy at the PGA Championship.
It was a disappointing slide for Woods, who was tied for the lead after two rounds but is still trying for his first major title since 2008.
"The thing is, to keep putting myself there," he said. "I'm not going to win them all and I haven't won them all, so I certainly have lost a lot more than I've won."
At Kiawah Island, his chance slipped away Saturday, when he bogeyed three of seven holes to start the third round before play was halted by rain.
"I came out with probably the wrong attitude (Saturday), and I was too relaxed, and tried to enjoy it, and that's not how I play," Woods said. "I play full systems go, all out, intense, and that's how I won 14 of these things."
His 15th major championship will have to wait at least until next year, even though he was in the mix yet again. In the U.S. Open this year, Woods finished 75-73 to go from a tie for the lead to a tie for 21st.
At the British Open last month, his final-round 73 left him tied for third. That was his worst round of the tournament.
At the PGA Championship, Woods returned to the course Sunday morning facing a 7-foot par putt on No. 8, which he promptly missed to drop another stroke behind. He rebounded later in his third round with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13, but the damage was done.
"You know how I am. I'm intense and I'm focused on what I'm doing and nothing else matters," Woods said. "I got back to that today and I hit some really good shots and I played the way that I know I can play."
Woods wasn't pleased with a drive on the par-4 15th. His club went sailing when he let go of it on the follow through, and the ball flew well to the right of the fairway, landing in a grassy, sandy area not too far from the beach.
He was able to recover, hitting a terrific shot to the green. He then came up limping for a few seconds before pulling what appeared to be some sort of prickly brush off the right leg of his pants.
Woods looked fine when he arrived at the green and two-putted for par.
"It got in both legs - well, left shoe, right shoe, and then in my right leg," he said. "It itched like hell for about a hole, and it was fine."
He finished the third round five strokes behind and was never a factor after that. McIlroy's final-round 66 had everyone else pretty much playing for second place, and Woods tied for 11th.
In the final round, Woods fell to his knees after barely missing a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 second hole. A tap-in birdie there and another birdie at No. 7 weren't nearly enough.
"I putted really well today - had the speed good," he said. "Unfortunately, I just didn't give myself enough good looks."
Woods went on to bogey both par 5s on the back nine while McIlroy pulled away to win by a tournament-record eight strokes.
"The key is putting myself there each and every time, and you know, I'll start getting them again," Woods said. "We've got a lot of golf to be played the rest of the year, some big events coming up and the Ryder Cup at the end of it - so looking forward to that."
DREAM START: Britain's Ian Poulter birdied the first five holes at the PGA Championship to challenge eventual winner Rory McIlroy but came undone with three consecutive bogeys on the back nine as the Northern Irishman marched to victory.
Poulter, who got within a stroke of McIlroy early in the fourth round on Sunday, ended tied for third after carding a three-under 69, a finish that will almost certainly earn him an automatic place in the European team for next month's Ryder Cup.
"I guess it was a dream start, birdieing the first five holes," said Poulter, whose best finish in a major is second at the 2008 British Open.
"I put myself in position, which was great. I couldn't ask for a better nine holes and then obviously birdieing 11 and 12 was also pretty good, too.
"So I put myself in position and I guess I run out of a little bit of steam coming around the turn on 13, 14, 15. I come unstuck right there. Just disappointing to bogey the last, really."
Poulter, who trailed McIlroy by six shots heading into the final round, rejected the notion that he may have paid the price for pushing too hard to catch the eventual champion.
"I didn't press at all. I still felt that I had to get through that stretch (of holes). There was no case of pressing in any way, shape or form," said Poulter. "I just thought I needed not to make any mistakes and unfortunately I made three on the spin which was a real shame."
With McIlroy showing such outstanding quality through his round and adding three birdies on the front nine, Poulter would, in any case, have had to settle for second place, easing the pain of his bogey-run.
"Rory has obviously played some immense golf out there today and when he plays golf like he's playing this week, and especially the last couple of days, he's very impressive to watch," he said. "You know, everybody should take note; the guy's pretty good."
LYNN-SANITY: In his first ever tournament in the United States, Britain's David Lynn finished second in the PGA Championship on Sunday, earning him a "dream come true" qualification for the Masters.
The 38-year-old European Tour regular has just one career win - the 2004 KLM Open - but produced a superb four-under round of 68 on Sunday for a final score of five-under 283, bettered only by the majestic Rory McIlroy, who won by eight strokes.
"I've never been exempt to play anything in America, so that's the reason why I've never been over here. This is a good start," Lynn told reporters with a grin when asked why it had taken him so long to appear in the United States.
"To come and perform the way I have this week in a major is very special and a great achievement. It has not sunk in properly yet to be honest," he said shortly after finishing his round which earned him $865,000.
Lynn, from Stoke on Trent, skipped last month's Austrian Open to protect his top 100 world ranking and earn a first spot in the PGA Championship - just his second major after featuring in the 2003 British Open, where he finished tied for 53rd.
"Turning up at the course for the first time, there was more excitement than nerves. I'm about to play my first event in America and I'm going to see a lot of faces that I've seen on television, so that was good.
"Watching the 1991 Ryder Cup here. It was always a place that intrigued me. I mean, visually from the air, it looks amazing and it's not disappointing when you turn up here," he said.
The finish ensures Lynn a place at next year's Masters and he could barely contain his delight.
"The Masters, well, all the four majors are the tournaments that as a kid you sit home and you watch. Seeing Augusta as many times as I have, it's like I know the place and I've never even been there.
"So to actually go and get to experience it is going to be amazing," he said.
MORE DALY: Puffing a cigarette on the practice green in lurid multicoloured pants, a bright orange shirt and bleached hair, John Daly looked, as always, something of an interloper at the PGA Championship.
But from the moment he took to the first tee and was greeted by roars and applause from the gallery it was clear he belonged and was welcome at the Ocean Course.
"It's been a blessing throughout my whole career," Daly said Sunday after finishing a round played to the backdrop of fans yelling encouragement on every hole.
"When things haven't gone good, they seem to keep you up. This has been a grind here on this course, but they kept me going. It is so tough here you are just grinding and you don't have chance to acknowledge them really but the fans have been fantastic with me."
The 46-year-old Daly's battles with drinking, gambling and his four wives have been well-documented, less so has been his quiet and steady return towards the kind of golf that brought him attention in the first place.
He came into the tournament having finished fifth at the Reno-Tahoe Open and this season he came 11th at the Sicilian Open and 24th at the Irish Open.
"It's baby steps for me. I'm slowly but surely getting more and more confidence because I'm making a lot of cuts," said Daly. "Whether you play great on a weekend or bad, at least you're playing competitive. That's what I need, whether it's 15 weeks in a row, 20 weeks in a row; I've always been a guy that likes to play a lot.
"So I just feel like I've got a great rhythm. It's nice to know that if I can just make a few extra putts, maybe one or two more a round, I can be in contention. I just love the way I'm hitting the ball."
Daly's proudest moment at the PGA Championship this week?
"I only made one double ( bogey)," he said, laughing.
DOWN ONE: Luke Donald left The Ocean Course without a major and without the No. 1 ranking.
Donald had been No. 1 in the world since late May when he took the top spot from Rory McIlroy. The 23-year-old McIlroy regained the No. 1 position Sunday with his eight-stroke victory in the PGA Championship.
This was supposed to be the season the 34-year-old Donald shed the mantle of best player without a major. Instead, Donald was left shaking his head and knowing he won't get his next chance until the Masters at Augusta National in eight months.
"I've won twice this year but I look at this year as somewhat of a disappointment in terms of the majors," Donald said.
Donald never truly contended early on as he tied for 32nd at the Masters back in April, then missed the cut in the U.S. Open. He rallied at the British Open to finish fifth and had hoped he could be in the mix at The Ocean Course. Instead, Donald took himself out of contention with rounds of 74, 76 and 74. He recovered Sunday to shoot 66, but far too late to catch McIlroy. Donald finished at 2 over - 15 shots behind the winner.
"You always gear your season up to peak at these events and I haven't quite figured that out yet," he said.
PETTERSON'S PROBLEM: Carl Pettersson kept himself at or near the top all week long at the PGA Championship. If only he'd had a leaf blower in his golf bag.
Pettersson's chance for his first major championship ended early when he grazed a leaf with his backswing while hitting out of a lateral water hazard.
Pettersson was given a two-stroke penalty that turned his opening par into a double-bogey 6 that he couldn't recover from.
The rules of golf state you can't move a loose impediment lying in the hazard.
"I've got to take it on the chin, obviously, but it's one of those stupid rules," he said.
Pettersson was quickly told he may have broken the rule, but officials wanted to check the videotape. Rules chairman David Price confirmed the violation and told Pettersson he had incurred the penalty.
Price came to the scorer's trailer after Pettersson's round and told the player officials were sure the ruling was correct. Pettersson said he would accept the decision. "They wouldn't lie," he said. "I mean, they said they looked at it a million times."
Pettersson tried not to let the penalty affect his game and made three straight birdies on the front to keep pace with McIlroy, one of his playing partners.
But Pettersson eventually ran out of gas and finished with a 72 for a 4-under 284, tied for third with last year's PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. The group was nine shots behind champion Rory McIlroy, but Pettersson would've finished alone in second without the penalty.
Petterson said he won't worry about what the mistake cost him. "I've got to look at the positives," he said. "I had a great week. I had a chance to win. Just didn't do it. And we'll give it a shot next year."
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