Another major, another disappointment for Tiger Woods, the top-ranked player in the world who has not won a major championship since his triumph at the 2002 U.S. Open.
Woods closed out the 86th PGA Championship with a 1-over-par round of 73 and a 72-hole total of 2-under 286, leaving him tied for 24th place. After an opening round of 75, when he said he putted "atrociously," Woods never really got into contention to win his ninth major. He has not won in 10 straight majors.
The only good news for him was that he will retain the No. 1 ranking for the 332nd week, breaking the record he shared with Greg Norman.
Woods had 29 putts Sunday and found only seven fairways. Over the tournament, he hit only 53 percent of his fairways. In the four majors this year, Woods has played 288 holes in 7 over par. He was 2 over at the Masters (tied for 22nd), 10 over at the U.S. Open (tied for 17th), 3 under at the British Open (tied for ninth) and 2 under this week.
If Woods was upset about going a second straight season without a major title, he hardly showed it.
"I did the same thing in 1997 [after winning the Masters] and '98," he said. "It's not like I haven't traveled down this road before. We've still got some good tournaments left, and I hope I can finish out correctly."
Asked to pinpoint his problem, he quickly replied, "putting. I just did not putt well this week. My speed was off, and when you have the speed and the line off, it's not a good combination."
Woods's run of failures in the majors is his longest since turning pro in 1996. Jack Nicklaus, who has the all-time record for major victories at 18, once went 12 majors without a victory after winning six in his first six seasons. He went on to win a dozen more, the last at the 1986 Masters at age 46.
Whistling Straits owner Herb Kohler has his eye on a number of future major championships for his six-year-old course. The U.S. Golf Association has said it will hold the 2007 U.S. Senior Open on these grounds, and Kohler said he also is discussing the possibility of playing the 2012 men's U.S. Open here. The 2009 women's U.S. Open will be played on another Kohler course, nearby Black Wolf Run.
He also said he is negotiating with the PGA of America to hold another PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, and said, "I stay awake dreaming about" staging a Ryder Cup on the course. The PGA Championship has courses picked through 2011, with the Cup's next available U.S. venue opening in 2020.
Verplank Loses Ground
Whistling Straits has not exactly been a spectator's paradise, especially with the PGA of America allowing 40,000 a day through the gates.
On many holes, fans watching from behind the ropes had to scurry up grassy dunes to get a decent vantage point, and there were numerous falls, sprains and bruises.
Several players also have had problems. Scott Verplank turned an ankle on uneven ground in his Friday round, and his scores sky-rocketed as he tried to alter his swing to compensate for the pain. Verplank posted a 76 Friday and shot 40 on the back nine Saturday on his way to a 77, ending any chance to move up from No. 14 in the Ryder Cup rankings into the top 10. After posting 73-293 on Sunday, his only chance is to be one of Hal Sutton's two captain's choice picks, which will be announced Monday.