On Colleges, On Golf
8:11 PM CDT, April 14, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods was right about one thing. Two, actually.
"I thought 65 would win it outright," he said. "If I would have shot my number, it might have been a different story."
Woods shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday for 5-under-par total, finishing four strokes out of the Adam Scott-Angel Cabrera playoff.
And, yes, had he shot his number, we wouldn't be talking about a continent celebrating Scott's Aus-ome victory.
We'd be saying that Woods' 15th major puts him ahead of Jack Nicklaus' pace of 18. And we'd be debating whether Woods' illegal drop Friday on No. 15 smeared his victory.
Outlets such as the Augusta Chronicle published photos Sunday that some believe show Woods' drop might have been close enough to his divot to be legit.
To Woods' credit, he didn't bite, reiterating he was "certainly not as close as the rule says."
Woods also didn't whine about what caused the mess. His wedge spun off the pin and into the water, a potential four-shot swing that represented the difference between finishing in a tie for fourth and making the playoff.
"We could do that 'what if' in every tournament we lose," he said.
Woods hasn't won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, a five-year gap marked by humiliation, divorce, a swing change, a new caddie, six PGA Tour victories and a return to the No. 1 world ranking.
But he lives to win majors. And at 37, he's in a rut at golf's toughest events.
His problem this time was not hitting enough greens in regulation — 65.3 percent. Scott hit a field-best 76.4 percent, and Cabrera was at 72.2 percent.
And Woods' problem Sunday was that he never adjusted to the speed of the greens.
"I just thought the greens were so slow — and that was even before it rained," he said. "(Saturday) they were so quick and dried out. For the first eight holes (Sunday), I think I left every putt short."
Brandt Snedeker, the only other American to finish in the top seven, had the same complaint: "The greens really messed me up. I could not get a putt to the hole. I did not do a good job of making adjustments."
Woods entered the tournament as the heavy favorite, and Snedeker began the day as the man to beat.
Snedeker shot 75, close to his final-round 77 that allowed Trevor Immelman to win the 2008 Masters.
"That ended in tears," he said, "and now my daughter (Lilly) is in tears."
Woods was upbeat Sunday as he walked off the course and thanked those for shouting "Great round, buddy!" and "Way to charge!"
Woods called the fan support "fantastic. I had so much encouragement out there. Everyone was trying to get me to shoot a low one and I was very thankful for that."
There was at least one man on the golf course not in Woods' corner, however.
Caddie Steve Williams has made little secret of his feelings — both publicly and privately — regarding his bitterness about his 2011 breakup with Woods.
It's not justice to simply say that Williams was "on the bag" as Scott rolled home the victorious 12-footer on the 10th green to win the Masters.
Scott saw only one foot of break in the putt but deferred to his veteran caddie, saying: "It was really dark. He's seen a lot of putts here. He made an unbelievable read."
So Williams left Augusta National a winner. And Woods left for the eighth straight time without a green jacket.
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