Fowler left behind by Woods’ surge at Memorial

On the first hole of Sunday’s final round of the Memorial,

Rickie Fowler poured in a 14-foot birdie putt.

The gallery – a sizable portion of which was clad in neon-bright

orange just like Fowler – went crazy. The fans screamed his name

and applauded madly as they stomped off to the second tee.

Marshals had to quiet the crowd down: It seemed that Fowler’s

playing partner in the next-to-last group still had a par tap-in

left.

That was the only time Tiger Woods was an afterthought all

day.

Woods came storming back to shoot a 67 to win his fifth Memorial

by two strokes over Andres Romero and Rory Sabbatini.

Fowler, with at least as many fans as Woods in the massive mob

that followed every shot of the duo, sagged to a dismal 84.

Despite the pleadings of his resplendent fans, Fowler just

couldn’t get anything going.

”It was one of those days. I made a birdie on the first hole. I

pulled (a shot) on 2 and just kind of got behind the 8 ball,” he

said. ”If you’re not hitting your numbers, especially coming down

(the stretch) on Sunday, it’s going to separate the men from the

boys. Today I was just a little off.”

Here’s how bad it was for the 23-year-old Oklahoma State

product, proudly dressed from head to toe in the school’s bright

orange: He had eight bogeys, three doubles, five pars and just two

birdies.

The 84 – his worst round on the PGA Tour by five shots – dropped

him from sole possession of third at the start of the day to a tie

for 52nd at the end. Two shots off the lead after that birdie on

the first hole, he ended up 16 shots back of Woods.

He wasn’t shaken by the four-hour death march of a round. Far

from it.

”I’m going to have a lot of Sundays from now on,” he said.

I’ve had some bad ones, I’ve had some good ones and it’s not going

to be the last bad one.”

Then he turned to a nearby barrier where kids were lined up

three and four deep, many dressed like him in Puma hats and shirts

with loud colors. He proceeded to sign autographs for almost 30

minutes after one of the most disappointing days of his young

life.

TIMES HAVE CHANGED: Woods’ victory was his 73rd on the PGA Tour,

tying him with Memorial founder Jack Nicklaus for second place

behind Sam Snead’s 82.

Counting only what he won in his 73 victories from 1996-2012,

Woods has earned $66,319,241.

Nicklaus received $2,380,277 just for his 73 victories between

1962 and 1986.

MAKING HEADLINES: Nicklaus completely redesigned the par-3 16th

hole at Muirfield Village two years ago. At the time, he said he

didn’t like the hole because it was ”just a way to get from the

15th green to the 17th tee.”

The 205-yard, par-3 already has its own signature moment.

From a difficult lie behind the green, Woods used a 60-degree

sand wedge to chip in for birdie to tie for the lead. A 10-foot

birdie putt on the final hole assured the victory.

The thing is, Nicklaus didn’t like the way the hole was set up

in the final round. He said the pin was in the wrong spot for a

wind coming from left to right.

”I’m glad I didn’t have to play my own hole,” he said.

LET DOWN AGAIN: Another 54-hole lead, another disappointment for

Spencer Levin.

Earlier this year he was on top by six shots with 18 holes left

at Phoenix and ended up third. He started Sunday at the Memorial

leading Rory Sabbatini by a shot but was tied for fourth at the

end.

Each time he lapsed to a 75.

”I knew Tiger was going to play good today. He always does,”

Levin said. ”I’m not naive. I knew I had to play good to win. If I

could have shot under par today, I would have won. I mean, the

course is hard, but I knew I was going to have to have a really

good round. That’s just the way it is out here.”

Had he just parred the final nine holes at Muirfield Village, he

would have gone to a playoff with Woods. Instead, he shot a 40 that

included three bogeys and a double.

”I’ve just got to find a way to get a little tougher there on

the back nine,” he said. ”That’s it. I’ve just got to find a way

to trust myself a little more. The mind starts wandering and it’s

easy to do.”

After four grueling rounds in a variety of weather conditions at

the Memorial, now Levin has to get up early tomorrow and play 36

holes during U.S. Open sectional qualifying at two Columbus-area

clubs.

”I’m going to try and go get some sleep,” he said after he

collected $272,800 for tying Daniel Summerhays for fourth. ”I

didn’t get any sleep last night, so I’ve got to try and go get some

sleep tonight.”

QUOTABLE: After his awful round, Fowler was asked if Woods was

his old vintage self coming down the stretch: ”I wasn’t counting,

I had too many strokes of my own to count.”

FLOYD HONORED: Ray Floyd will be the 2013 honoree at the

Memorial Tournament.

Each year Nicklaus’ tournament selects a luminary of golf’s past

who contributed through playing, designing courses or building the

sport.

Floyd won 22 PGA Tour titles, including four major

championships. He also won the Memorial in 1982.

Floyd, who will be 70 in September, will be honored at a

ceremony before the 2013 Memorial.

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:

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