After a blistering start to his third round on Saturday evening, Tiger continued the momentum on Sunday until the marathon week caught up with him in his one-over 72 in the final round of the Genesis Open.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — As he prepared for all the post-round responsibilities that come with being Tiger Woods and the tournament host—an interview with CBS, then another with Sky Sports, then one more for good measure with a scrum of scribes, then participating in the trophy ceremony—Woods sat on the front of a parked golf cart, coffee in hand, treasuring each and every fleeting moment of rest.
Put another way: a tired, cold 43-year-old man who had just finished a marathon week of start-and-stop golf.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Woods said after a closing one-over 72 to finish the Genesis Open at six under.
Can you blame him?
Woods said he woke up somewhere between 2 and 3 a.m. to prepare his body for a 6:45 a.m. re-start Sunday morning, when he returned to Riviera to put the finishing touches on a third-round 65. That round was set up by a blistering birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie start as sunlight waned on Saturday evening, and he continued the momentum through seven holes in the final round. After holing out a bunker shot for birdie on the delicate par-3 16th, Woods found himself 10 under for the week and inside the top 5.
That’s when, by his own admission, the week finally caught up him. He made four bogeys without a birdie over his last 11 holes.
“Yeah, I got tired,” Woods said. “I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I definitely felt it today…that’s the way it goes.”
Woods’s opening round was rained out on Thursday, so he played 30 holes on Friday then returned at 7 a.m. on Saturday to finish off the last six holes of his second round. He teed off his third round nearly nine hours later and got just seven holes in before a quick sleep and an eight-hour final Sunday sprint to the finish.
Woods’s putter kept him from contending this week; he had six three-putts total, including four alone in his opening-round 70, and looked uncomfortable on the slippery poa annua greens all week. There were, however, positive signs—Woods played one 26-hole stretch in 10 under par, his driver dispersion was tight and he was able to vary his iron trajectory.
All in all, the ball striking was better than his season-opening T20 at the Farmers Insurance Open, though the putting means the finish will be roughly the same. Woods was T15 when he walked off the course.
Next up for Woods is a trip south of the border to compete in next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship. It’ll mark his first time competing at Golf Club de Chapultec, and normally on such a week he’d use Monday to familiarize himself with the grounds.
But this wasn’t a normal week. The plan for Monday? Rest.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said. “The clubs aren’t coming out of the travel bag.”