AUGUSTA • After making a nightmare 10, his worst score on any Major hole, on the par-three 12th at Augusta National in Sunday’s final round of the Masters, Tiger Woods salvaged some pride, even though he was still pondering what went wrong.
Blaming the hole’s well-known swirling winds for the humbling performance, which saw him send three balls into Rae’s Creek, he said: “This sport is awfully lonely sometimes.
“You have to fight it. No one is going to bring you off the mound or call in a sub. You have to fight through it.
“That’s what makes this game so unique and so difficult mentally. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, I’ve been there and you just have to turn around and figure out the next shot and I was able to do that coming home.”
He closed with birdies on five of his final six holes for a closing four-over 76, finishing joint 38th on one-under 287, 19 shots behind winner and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
But the shocker at the tricky 155-yard layout in the heart of fabled Amen Corner was the only thing on his mind, with the five-time Masters champion finding the water in front of the green off the tee after the winds changed.
“I committed to the wrong wind,” last year’s Masters champion said.
“The wind was off the right for the first two guys, and then when I stepped up there, it switched to howling off the left. I also got ahead of it and pushed it.
“From there, I hit a lot more shots and had a lot more experiences there in Rae’s Creek.”
His poor showing was exacerbated by his ailing surgically-fused back, with Woods seen using his wedge to support his weight as he climbed out of the bunker.
The American, who turns 45 next month, admitted his ongoing health issues were another impediment in his quest for a 16th Major, saying: “There are days when mentally it’s harder to push than others just because physically, my body just has moments where it just doesn’t work like it used to.
“It’s more difficult than others to be motivated at times because things just ache and have to deal with things I’ve never had to deal with before.”
However, the former world No. 1 said he will take solace in knowing he only has to wait until April for his next chance at a record-tying sixth green jacket alongside Jack Nicklaus.
“Hopefully, if everything continues the way it is going right now, then we’re able to have this event,” he said.