Putter proves to be Tiger's undoing
Tiger Woods' winless streak in the majors has officially moved into its sixth calendar year, and this one got ugly during the weekend.
Over his final 36 holes, Woods carded 11 bogeys and a triple-bogey against only four birdies, spiraling out of contention on a layout that he thought he would fairway metal to death.
His final score of 13-over-par 293 was his worst as a pro in the US Open. His previous Open high score since he turned pro was 290 at The Olympic Club in 1998 and Shinnecock Hills in 2004. Woods shot 294 at Oakland Hills in 1996 as an amateur.
His putter let him down. Woods picked up 128 putts on the week — an average of 32 per round. The putting woes came as Woods performed better than the field average in fairways hit at 70 percent (vs. field at 62.28 percent) and in greens in regulation at 65 percent (field at 58.56 percent).
"I struggled with the speed all week. These greens are grainy. It's one of the older bent grasses, creeping bent," Woods said. "So it's a little bit grainy. I struggled with the speed, especially right around the hole, putts were breaking a lot more. I gave it a little more break, and then it would hang. That's kind of the way it was this week."
Woods started his third round with a birdie to move within three shots of the lead, but seven bogeys to finish out his round left him with a 12:02 p.m. date with Matt Bettencourt — not what you'd expect from the world No. 1.
He also started Sunday with a birdie but followed with a drive out-of-bounds at No. 2 that led to a triple-bogey 8. He mixed in four bogeys and two birdies the rest of the way en route to a 4-over-par 74.
He failed to break par in all four rounds, posting 73-70-76-74 to finish at 13 over. The 293 matched his pro high score at any major, last year at the Masters when he tied for 40th.
Woods did not mention any pain in his left elbow, though he kept that a mystery throughout the week. He was flexing and shaking his left hand on shots out of the rough early in the week, saying only that it was painful. He later revealed that he first hurt it at The Players Championship last month, which he won. But he didn't mention the shot or even which round it happened.
Woods said he refuses to simply forget the week at Merion.
"There's always a lesson to be learned in every tournament, whether you win or lose," he said. "I'll look back at the things I did right and the things I did wrong."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.