Tiger Woods had a number in mind Sunday at The Masters.
He always has at Augusta National. It used to be a winning number but not this time.
Woods, playing for the first time after missing the past two years, was burdened all week by unrealistic expectations from everyone but himself.
All he wanted on Sunday was to get it back to even par for 72 holes.
After rounds of 73-75-72, he was four-over and had his work cut out for him.
After an up-and-down front nine that had three pars, three birdies, three bogeys, he needed to get going over the final nine to shoot that 68 that would get him to 288 — even par.
Woods finally found a little of his old par five magic at 13 and 15. He birdied 13 then hit two great shots at 15 where he holed an eagle putt from 15 feet. Another birdie at 17 and his 68 was there for the taking.
The 18th summed up the story of his week. A bogey to end his day kept him over par — 289. But he did manage to shoot his first sub-70 score, a three-under 69.
“It was a bittersweet ending,” Woods said of the short par putt he missed on the 72nd hole. “I putted awful. It was the highest score I could have shot.”
His complaining ended quickly, remembering how far he’s come this year.
“Overall,” he added, “it was fun to be able to compete again and play in The Masters.”
His 289 left him tied for 32nd.
A lot of people expected him to be in the hunt on Sunday.
That was simply asking too much.
Woods now plans to head home. “I’ll spend more time in the gym and do what I need to get stronger,” he said.