Tiger Woods plods to unspectacular Open finish

This article is the answer to the most common every-tournament question: “How did Tiger do?” For much more coverage on the entire Open Championship, go here.

Tiger Woods rolled the long, curling putt across Royal Portrush’s 16th green, a good 30 feet at least, and it banged home for a birdie. The crowd around Skerries roared, Woods opened his arms wide to the heavens, and then did an NBA ref-style “it’s good” finger-drop. It was a great moment.

Problem is, it was the round’s only great moment.

Nobody realistically thought Woods could make a serious run at this year’s Open Championship. But most observers figured he’d do better than Thursday’s brush fire, a seven-over 78 that wasn’t terrible at any one point, just ugly across the board.

Woods has conceded that his body isn’t what it once was, and the chilly weather at Pebble Beach in June and Portrush this week isn’t helping his game. A weather system that ran the gamut from bright sunshine to pelting rain didn’t let anyone get too comfortable, but Woods more than most is a prisoner of climate.

Woods spent much of the round stretching between holes, trying to stay loose. His swing didn’t have the same snap as it had in Augusta, and the expressions on his face ranged from disgust to disdain. He grimaced at his very first shot of the day — a pounded drive that wandered into the snarled grass left of the hole — and didn’t get much happier as the day went on.

Woods salvaged a par on the first and added another on the second. But, in what would become a recurring what-if theme on the day, he burned the edge on the third hole on a birdie attempt. Statistically, Woods was even with the field average in all major categories except putting; he gave away several strokes with errant or insufficient putts once he reached the green.

With the rain rolling in, Woods’ round went sideways starting with the fifth hole. He left a long putt well short and bogeyed that hole and the next. Then came the seventh. He left three straight shots in the thick grass to the left of the fairway, and by the time he was on his par stroke, he was still a good 100 yards from the hole.

It didn’t get any better as the round went on. Woods bracketed the turn — such as it is at Royal Portrush — with bogeys, and added another four holes later, so that when he arrived at the 15th, he was sitting at plus-7 and looking at an early exit for the second time since his Masters win.

He drained that long putt after a routine approach, and at last Northern Ireland got to unleash a Tiger Roar ... such as it was. But two holes later, he gave that stroke back, and stumbled into the clubhouse a beaten man.

Woods finished the round 12 strokes behind clubhouse leader J.B. Holmes. Woods will have a tremendous amount of work to do Friday to even make the cut. If not, well ... winning one out of four majors a year isn’t a terrible record.

22 PHOTOS
Celebs react to Tiger Woods winning the 2019 Masters
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Celebs react to Tiger Woods winning the 2019 Masters
Congratulations to @TigerWoods., a truly Great Champion!
Running the numbers on how long it’ll take me to get to 15... https://t.co/PcNSF2oCzB
Congrats Tiger! What a performance..
Tears.. so proud of this man
Whoa! Way to feel the flow, @TigerWoods! Huge congrats! Love, Happy Gilmore
What a comeback!!! Congrats @GCTigerTracker on winning @TheMasters #green https://t.co/m9NJ8O5y1G
I am literally in tears watching @TigerWoods this is Greatness like no other. Knowing all you have been through phy… https://t.co/LCIYSbINxs
Congratulations, Tiger! To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.
I SALUTE YOU @TigerWoods‼️‼️‼️ #Inspired
The tradition continues... and OH MY GOD! What an unbelievable day. We watched Tiger Woods win the Masters. Congratulations @tigerwoods that was incredible to watch. History. #themasters #tigerwoods
The greatest come back in the history of sports! Congrats @TigerWoods!!!! 🐯✨ https://t.co/mbai9RVD7G
TIGER 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾 #masters2019
A big BIG congratulations to @TigerWoods for winning the Masters!! The roar of the Tiger is back!
Greatest comeback story in sports! Congrats @TigerWoods Let me hold one of those 5 jackets one time!
A big “well done” from me to @TigerWoods! I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!!! 👏🏼 @TheMasters
You KNOW this one is framed and on the office wall! Congratulations, @TigerWoods on one of the greatest comebacks e… https://t.co/ysUS20VN53
#themasters Tradition! CONGRATULATIONS @TigerWoods BEST OF ALL TIME! 🏌️ https://t.co/NciqCce0tA
Big time ✋🏾 hi-five to @TigerWoods so impressed on your comeback & win. I don’t play golf but Tiger transcends all… https://t.co/XUMgCzKFFY
Golf courses everywhere in the world will be packed after tigers win today. Hate him or love him he’s the reason mo… https://t.co/CRtOMwlks3
What a beautiful day it’s been watching #TheMasters and #TigerWoods win. As a father I couldn’t help but cry when h… https://t.co/54H3AZqmTG
Speechless ❤️ @TigerWoods
I can’t even handle how happy I am for @TigerWoods . I cried for him. I feel so happy he has this win, and he made… https://t.co/zwq5DnIOUX
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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