AUGUSTA, Ga. — On Thursday morning, had someone predicted that Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy would be tied after 72 holes of the Masters, the logical question would have been, “Where does the playoff start?”
Alas, the two players widely considered as the pre-tournament favorites — Woods because he won his most recent start, McIlroy because he seems to contend every time out and is No. 2 in the world — played wildly inconsistent golf for four days. They were tied, but at 5-over 293 for the Masters, good for 40th — Woods’s worst finish in the Masters as a pro.
“It was a disappointing weekend,” McIlroy said after his closing round of 4-over 76.
Coming into his 18th Masters, Woods had played the four par-5s at Augusta National in a combined 133 under par. This week, in 16 attempts at Nos. 2, 8, 13 and 16, he made just two birdies and played the holes in 1 under.
“If I look back on the week, I played the par 5s atrociously,” Woods said after he closed with a 74. “This is a golf course you just have to dominate the par 5s, and I did not do that at all this week.”
Thus, Woods finished with his worst score in relation to par in 16 Masters as a pro. It is also the first of those Masters in which Woods failed to break par in any round. That is, he said, a result of his inability to completely believe in the swing changes he has undertaken over the last two years.
“I didn’t hit the ball very good this week,” said Woods, a four-time champion at Augusta. “And what’s frustrating is I know what to do, and I just don’t do it. I get out there and I just don’t trust it at all.”
McIlroy positioned himself nicely with a 69 on Friday, but shot 42 on the front nine Saturday. He closed Sunday with a 76, and he never mastered the first hole. He bogeyed it Sunday and played it 5 over for the week.
“I got off to a bad start and just couldn’t really recover from that,” McIlroy said.
“I felt like coming into the weekend I had a chance and sort of blew up the first nine holes on Saturday.”
After shooting a third-round 75 Saturday, Sergio Garcia, 32, was quoted in the Spanish press saying he could never win a major. After he finished with a 71 Sunday to tie for 12th, he was asked if those comments were made in the heat of the moment.
“Do you think I lie when I talk?” Garcia said. Asked what he was missing that’s necessary to win a major, he said, “Everything.” . . .
Bo Van Pelt, a contender in last year’s wild Masters, went out early Sunday and posted the tournament’s low round of 64, which included an ace at the 16th. Two hours later, Adam Scott also made a hole-in-one at the 16th, where the traditional Sunday pin placement allows balls to funnel toward the hole. They were the 14th and 15th holes-in-one at the 16th in the 76-year history of the Masters. . . .
Patrick Cantlay, a sophomore at UCLA, was the low amateur after his final-round 72 held him at 7 over for the tournament. But his path to that score was remarkable. From the 11th through 17th holes, Cantlay went bogey-birdie-quadruple bogey-double bogey-eagle-birdie-birdie.