Tiger Woods reflected on the “lonely” element of golf after taking 10 shots to play Augusta National’s iconic 12th in the final round of the Masters. The score marks the biggest on a single hole since Woods turned professional.
In a series of extraordinary moments, Woods found water from the tee at the par three and duly played his third shot from a drop zone into Rae’s Creek. Having next found a bunker behind the green, he entered water again. By the time he reached the putting surface, he had already played eight.
Equally as striking, though, was Woods’s response; the defending Masters champion birdied five of his last six holes before signing for a 76.
“This sport is awfully lonely sometimes,” Woods said. “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. 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.”
Woods explained that the notoriously difficult breeze at the 12th had confused him. “I committed to the wrong wind,” said the five-times Masters winner. “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 didn’t commit to the wind and I also got ahead of it and pushed it, too, because I thought the wind would come more off the right and it was off the left and that just started the problem from there.”
Woods again admitted to battles in this, the closing stage of a decorated career. The 44-year-old has undergone multiple back surgeries. “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,” he said. “No matter how hard I try, things just don’t work the way they used to, and no matter how much I push and ask of this body, it just doesn’t work at times. Things just ache and I have to deal with things that I’ve never had to deal with before.”
Shane Lowry, who was playing in Woods’s company, said: “He had a bit of a disaster at the 12th, didn’t he? That’s what Augusta can do when the wind is up. It happened, but what a finish. He hit every shot stone dead for the rest of the round. He’s Tiger Woods, isn’t he? The best of all time.”
Bryson DeChambeau, of whom so much was said ahead of this tournament, closed with a 73. The US Open champion spoke of feeling ill throughout Masters weekend.
“I’m at about 60%,” DeChambeau said. “It’s tough. I’m hydrated, everything is fine. It’s just about orientation. There were numerous times where I was over the ball and I just felt super-uncomfortable. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t see the line. It was really weird.”