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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Tiger Woods keeps eye on big picture after finishing 14-over in Memorial Tournament

By Marla Ridenour Published: June 8, 2015

As Tiger Woods strode towards the 18th green at Muirfield Village Golf Club Sunday, a gallery nearly as large as the one that has followed him for years enveloped the area in front of the clubhouse.

But this time they were tracking the player with the first tee time, not one vying for another Memorial Tournament trophy to go with his other five. And he was playing alone.

Struggling with swing changes designed to protect his back following 2014 surgery, Woods finished four rounds at 14-over par. But his final-round 2-over par 74, which included double bogeys on two of the last four holes, was an improvement over Saturday. In the third round, Woods carded an 85, his worst score in a PGA Tour event.

"Just trying to shoot under par," Woods said of his goal in the final round. "Just because I'm in last place doesn't change how I play golf. Whether it's the first day or the last day, play all out."

With four birdies in a seven-hole span starting at No. 5, Woods stood 3-under on the day after No. 11. But he bogeyed Nos. 13 and 17, doubled Nos. 15 and 18, barely offset by another birdie at 16. In the final two rounds, Woods went 6-over par at the final hole.

For the week, Woods hit 25 of 56 fairways and 35 of 72 greens in regulation.

Woods did not speak to the media on Saturday, but talked about how humbling the 85 was on Sunday.

"It's hard, this a lonely sport," Woods said. "The manager is not going to come in and bring in the righty or bring in the lefty, you've just got to play through it. That's one of hardest things about the game of golf and one of the best things about the game of golf. When you're on, no one's going to slow you down. When you're off, no one's going to pick you up, either.

"For us, unfortunately, you have those days, they're five hours long. Those are long, tough days."

Asked if it felt like an 85, he said, "No, it felt a lot higher."

Woods said he was bothered by a blister on his left hand that became an issue this week, but did not say when. He said that kept him from hitting balls after the third round.

Woods said this week he found himself stuck between swing patterns of the old and the new.

"I had to go through yesterday, I had to go through those painful moments, just like I did at Torrey and Phoenix to be able to make the leap I did at Augusta," he said.

Woods missed the cut at Phoenix and withdrew on his 12th hole of his first round at Torrey Pines with a tight back. But he rebounded to finish tied for 17th at the Masters. He tied for 69th at the Players Championship, making the cut on the number, just as he did at the Memorial.

With the U.S. Open in two weeks, Woods eyes the future.

"Guys that have made tweaks, you have moments where you go backwards and then you make big, major strides down the road. That's just the way it goes," he said.

"You have to look at the big picture. You can't be so myopic with your view and expect to have one magical day or one magical shot and change your whole game. It doesn't work that way."

Memorial leader Justin Rose teed off Sunday at 15-under par. Asked what he would take out of his four rounds at Muirfield Village, Woods said, "I did not win and I wasn't even close. So hopefully in two weeks time things will be a lot better and I'll be ready to try to win a U.S. Open."

The last of Woods' 14 major victories came in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Seventy-one players made the Memorial cut, but Woods declined to have a marker play with him Sunday. He said the biggest problem playing alone was not having somebody going off first so he could judge the wind and the line and speed of the greens.

"I was able to maintain my own rhythm and cadence," he said.

Woods headed home to Hobe Sound, Fla., and planned to take a few days off.

"Just putt and let this finger heal up a bit," he said.



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