Tiger Woods ended his weekend trek through Arnold Palmer’s signature Bay Hill course in Florida with an even-par fourth round, finishing at -1 for the tournament, tied for 24th place.
The field’s winner Martin Laird carded a three-over 75 to end his tournament at -8. Spencer Levin who entered the fourth round in second shot a 76, ending the weekend at -5 tied for sixth place. Steve Marino ended in second place at -7 and shot even par.
Tiger was at -3 as he teed off on Saturday and if he had shot -2 both weekend days, he would have ended in second place one shot behind Laird. And who knows how Laird would have played if Woods was breathing down his back.
During the tourney, Woods struggled on the green with one period needing 32 putts in 18 holes. The one-time sure-shots in the five to seven foot range are now exercises in tension and disappointment. During the event, the NBC broadcasting crew commented that it looked like Woods was changing his putting stroke at the same time the swing changes are setting in. One of them spotted him on the course and said that he was returning to the days of his father Earl Woods’ coaching.
Much has been said and written about Tiger’s long haul back from his life imploding and some are ready to say we will never see the Tiger we once saw. But the players who were burning up the PGA Tour earlier this year also faded out at Bay Hill. Rickie Fowler carded a 78 on Sunday to land at even par for the tournament. Phil Mickelson did his usual act of teasing us on Saturday with a 69 and then shooting 73 to end his weekend at -1 and Graeme McDowell, Vijay Singh and Dustin Johnson didn’t even make the cut.
Used with permission of the author.
Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles.
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