Tiger's tale of woe as Watson grabs glory in California
Tiger Woods began his 2011 PGA Tour campaign with high hopes at the Farmers Insurance Open, but he ended his week on a bitterly low note as he limped home with a three-over-par 75 yesterday.
Despite launching his season at one of his most successful venues, the 14-times Major champion struggled with his swing for most of yesterday's final round while he also battled with his putting.
Woods was a shadow of his former self as he finished the tournament on a one-under 287, well out of contention.
"I hit a lot of good shots early in the week, and then it progressively got worse," Woods said, after recording only his third over-par score at the event in 47 rounds.
"Today was nice starting out. I hit it just as pure as can be and then it progressively got worse as the day went on. I hit so many good putts that didn't go in today. So I have a week to get ready and a lot of work to do."
Woods, who totalled 32 putts on the day, has next week off before heading off to compete in the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic from February 10-13.
The 35-year-old had been in buoyant mood at the start of the week after being energised by a highly productive off-season.
"I'm really looking forward to getting out there and playing, feeling the heat again," the world No 3 said on the eve of the tournament. "Over the years, I've had a little bit of success here."
Woods was back at Torrey Pines for the first time since his remarkable play-off win at the 2008 US Open, the seventh professional victory of his career at the picturesque venue, which hugs the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean.
He has won the PGA Tour event staged here six times, including a run of four in a row from 2005.
Opening rounds of 69 and 69 left Woods feeling optimistic heading into Saturday's third round before he tumbled out of contention, repeatedly shaking his head in frustration after hitting errant shots.
"The old motor patterns are still there, and that is the thing," said Woods, who embarked on the fourth swing change of his career with Canadian coach Sean Foley in August. "I'm going to have to fight through that. And I've done it before, and there's no reason I can't do it again."
Asked how close he was to completing his swing overhaul, he replied: "Oh, it's progressing. "I don't know. It's one of those things where I don't know where the end is. You never know where the end is until you're done with playing."
Bubba Watson produced a superb birdie at the 72nd hole to secure the Farmers Insurance Open last night on 16-under-par. The American pushed his second shot into the greenside bunker at the par five last but made a wonderful up and down with a 15-foot putt that gave him a one-shot margin of victory from Phil Mickelson who birdied the final two holes.