Indyplus updates: USPGA - final round


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Tiger Woods today completed the 18th major since his last success in one of golf's biggest four events, a barren run which is "messing with his mind" according to Nick Faldo.

Woods carded a closing 70 in the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill to finish four over par, the world number one playing the back nine in 32 despite a number of wild drives.

The 37-year-old had come into the final major of the year fresh from shooting a second-round 61 en route to winning an eighth Bridgestone Invitational by seven shots on Sunday, his fifth victory this season.

But he has now not tasted victory at a major since his triumph in the 2008 US Open and remains four short of matching the record of 18 held by Jack Nicklaus.

"It must be messing with his mind that he can't finish the majors," Faldo said while commentating for CBS. "This was nothing like what we expected after winning last week.

"He has been in more trees than Tarzan."

Woods said: "I put four good rounds (together) last week, unfortunately it wasn't this week. I didn't seem to hit it as good and didn't make many putts until the last few holes today."

Asked about his winless streak in majors, Woods added: "Is it concerning? No. As I've said, I've been there in half of them so that's about right. If you are going to be in there three-quarters or half of them with a chance to win on the back nine, you have just got to get it done.

"I was right there and certainly had a chance to win the Masters and the British this year. The other two, I just didn't hit it good enough. Just the way it goes.

"Having a chance on the back nine on Sunday, I can live with that. It's always frustrating going out there and I'm three over today, got to seven over, and I'm grinding my tail off coming in just to shoot even par for the day. And I'm nowhere in it. That's tough."

Woods at least fared considerably better than Phil Mickelson, who found himself in the second group out at 8:25am following a third round of 78, a stark contrast to his Open Championship triumph at Muirfield last month.

The world number two looked in danger of finishing last of the 75 players who made the cut when he went to the turn in 39 with two birdies, one bogey, one double bogey and a triple bogey, but a back nine of 33 ensured he finished ahead of compatriot Gary Woodland and former Open champion Darren Clarke.

Mickelson, who was 21st in the Bridgestone Invitational last week, said: "I didn't play very well the last two weeks. I'm not going to worry about it.

"I'm going to go just work on my short game at my home, just chip and putt, and then wait four or five days before I start hitting balls again because I want to forget these couple of weeks where I really haven't struck it the way I had for a few months.

"I'll look at some film from those events I played well and just try to do the same thing that I was doing."

Both Woods and Mickelson had finished their rounds before the leaders teed off, Jim Furyk taking a one-shot lead over Jason Dufner into the final round.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson was two off the lead on seven under with compatriot Jonas Blixt another stroke back, but a course playing 109 yards shorter than during the first round was offering plenty of birdie chances.

The par-five 13th was reachable in two for the first time after the tee was brought forward 38 yards and Keegan Bradley was showing what was possible, the 2011 US PGA champion six under through 13 holes before a bogey on the 14th.

Playing partners Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood began the day six off the lead and both made par on the first despite hitting poor drives, Westwood getting up and down superbly from a greenside bunker.