Ratings were up, pre-Masters excitement was at a fever pitch and Tiger Woods was ranked among the favorites to win the 82nd Masters.
Freddie Couples, after playing practice rounds with Woods on Monday and Tuesday declared that he would be right there on Sunday. Surely “right there” must have meant around the lead or thereabouts.
Woods was still in the tournament on Sunday, yes, but after rounds of 73-75-72 he was going off hours before the final pairing of Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed.
Woods produced his best round on Sunday — 69 — and declared it “the highest score I could have shot.”
Overall, Woods had problems off the tee at times and simply couldn’t hit his irons close enough to matter. Witness that in rounds three and four, he hit drives off the first tee in the 340-yard range but could not make pars with sand wedge in his hands. The first two days, he hit his tee shots into Rae’s Creek at 12. He’s never done that.
For the record, Woods finished tied for 32nd at one-over par, 16 shots behind the winner.
So what’s next for Woods?
“Take a little time off. Get back in the gym, start working on my body again. Get it in good shape, and get back at it again,” he said after his final round at Augusta National. “Generally after this tournament I put away the clubs for a while. The run up to this event is pretty hard and pretty grueling.”
Woods typically doesn’t give out his schedule but it’s a pretty good bet he’ll show up next month at the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow the week of May 3 then play in The Players the following week, May 10. He’ll play The Memorial at Jack Nicklaus’ place on May 31, two weeks off then off to the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.