Steve DiMeglio Golfweek
Published 8:32 PM EDT Jun 16, 2019
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — For the first six holes in Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods resembled the cool, overcast weather pattern known as the June Gloom that parked itself over Pebble Beach for the week.
He didn’t look right, that he was a bit under the weather. Something didn’t feel right. And most of his shots certainly weren’t of the “be right” nature.
Wearing KT tape on his neck – a therapeutic strip to treat pain – did nothing but heighten concerns.
Then the sun in his world broke through.
With a birdie from 13 feet on the tiny seventh, the fog enveloping Woods evaporated. He put up another red number on the eighth from 5 feet, dropped a 40-foot bomb for birdie on the 13th. He scored again from 5 feet on the 14th and from 8 feet on the 16th.
He ended his tale of two Tigers with a birdie from 5 feet on the final hole to finish with a 2-under-par 69 instead of the 80 he looked destined to shoot.
It was a pleasant way to cap off a dull week for Woods, who had lofty ambitions heading to Pebble Beach, where he won the U.S. Open by a record 15 shots in 2000.
“Got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off,” said Woods, who finished with rounds of 70-72-71-69. He was 11 shots behind leader Gary Woodland when he finished his 72nd hole. “Turned back around and got it to under par for the week, which normally is a good thing, but this week the guys are definitely taking to it.”
For the week, Woods wasn’t sharp with his irons and so-so with the putter. Unlike during his tour de force in 2000, Woods kept finding himself in the wrong spots, such as above the hole or off the green facing a tucked pin.
From those places Woods was forced to call on a conservative approach and was never able to get in attack mode and stay there.
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On the weekend, the KT Tape produced more buzz than Woods’ clubs. Woods was coy when asked if there were any physical issues Saturday, when he wore the KT Tape for the first time and got off to a poor start.
He just said he was “achy,” and the chilly air didn’t help. He also brushed away a follow-up question when asked if there was any correlation to the neck strain that prevented him from playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year.
“It’s all the same. It’s been like that for years,” Woods said. “The forces have to go somewhere. And if they’re not in the lower back, they’re in the neck, and if they’re not, they’re in the mid-back, and if not, they go to the knee. You name it.”
As for where he’s going next, Woods wouldn’t say. He joked that if one had a camera phone, they’d know. But it’s likely Woods will not play any of the upcoming four PGA Tour starts and will instead make his next start in the British Open at Royal Portrush on July 18-21.
“I’m going to take a little bit of time off and enjoy some family time,” Woods said.
When he does return to the golf course and the gym to start prepping for the last major of the season, he’ll be very much looking forward to Royal Portrush despite never having seen it.
Woods loves playing links golf, which requires imagination as the game hard by the seas is played closer to the game played way up in the sky. Woods said it’s his favorite type of golf to play, and he’s won the Claret Jug in 2000, 2005 and 2006.
“I’m looking forward to getting up there and taking a look at the golf course and trying to figure out,” Woods said. “I hope that my practice rounds are such that we get different winds, especially on a golf course that I’ve never played, and to get a different feel how it could play for the week. And definitely have to do my homework once I get there.”
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