Tiger Tracker: Rock outlasts Woods for title

Robert Rock, right, and Tiger Woods traded early birdies, but Rock was able to stay steady for the entire round.

Robert Rock survived a late scare on No. 18 to outlast Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to win the Abu Dhabi Championship. Tiger struggled off the tee on Sunday, hitting only two fairways.

"I really can't believe I (did) that today," said Rock after the round. "I didn't think this would happen."

Rock won the title despite two bogeys on par 5s. Rock said he was nervous to play with Tiger on Saturday. It didn't look like it on Sunday, particularly birdies on Nos. 14 and 16 to take a one-stroke advantage over Woods back to three.

"(Tiger) is a great guy. (It was) great to play with him," said Rock.

Tiger was frustrated that his fast start on Sunday - birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 - didn't continue.

"I was right there with a chance to win the golf tournament," said Woods. "I got off to a beautiful start, then misjudged the wind on the next two holes. Then two bad pitches, back-to-back."

Tiger will take a week off before playing at Pebble Beach.

"I'm pleased with the progress we've made so far," said Woods. "(I have to) keep building, get more consistent. I putted beautifully today, but didn't give myself enough chances."

We spent Sunday breaking down every shot from Tiger and Rock. Check out how the round unfolded with our Tiger Tracker:

• • •

Hole No. 18, Par 5, 567 yards

Tiger misses another fairway, with only two hit on the round. But Rock might have made the bigger mistake here, as he has gone into a hazard on the right side, flirting with the water. In looking at the ball, the biggest question will be whether he can have much of a backswing to advance the ball.

Rock decides to take a penalty and drop it back in the fairway, on the same line that the ball entered the hazard. Now playing his third shot from the fairway, he leaves a little more than 100 yards left for his fourth shot.

Tiger hammers it out of the rough and finds more rough, but will have a long chip over a sand trap for eagle.

He goes at it, landing pin high, but it runs past the hole and a birdie at this point will likely not catch Rock, who landed his fourth shot on the green, 25 feet under the hole.

With two putts to win, Rock puts it to an inch with his fifth shot. And he taps in to win the championship at 13 under, one shot better than Rory McIlroy and two better than Tiger and two others.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 17, Par 4, 483 yards

Showing nerves of steel, Rock hammers a drive to the left side of the fairway. Tiger takes an aggressive line, knowing that he needs to do something special, but the drive hooks left and he'll have a tough angle on his second shot.

Tiger manages to hit the green, but is about 60 feet from the hole. Rock doesn't slightly better, but is still looking at 45 feet.

A good two-putt by Tiger keeps him at 11 under, while Rock also two-putts to stay at 14 under.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy finishes with a birdie to move to 12 under and is currently in solo second.

• • •

Hole No. 16, Par 4, 475 yards

Rock has played the final three holes better thus far in the tournament, as he is 2 under versus Tiger's even-par.

And Rock simply puts his tee shot in the middle of the fairway, while Tiger takes driver and find the rough on the left side. He has hit only 2 of 12 fairways Sunday.

Rock is not showing signs of nerves, hitting his second shot from 200 to about five feet.

Tiger muscles it out of the long rough and lands right in front of the green. Tiger runs the putt across the green, but it runs about four feet past. He makes it to stay in contention.

But Rock birdies again and moves to 14 under, three shots clear of Tiger, McIlroy, Thomas Bjorn and Graeme McDowell.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Graeme McDowell banks his third shot off the base of the grandstands on No. 18, it rolls back to within five feet and McDowell picks up a birdie to finish at 11 under. Thomas Bjorn joins McDowell at 11 under after a final-round 68.

• • •

Hole No. 15, Par 3, 177 yards

Though he looks disgusted, Rock lands his tee shot pin high and about 20 feet to the right.

The ball tracks at the hole for Tiger, but lands about 25 feet above. Tiger has hit 5 of 15 greens in regulation on Sunday.

Tiger gives his putt a chance, but it tracks under the hole and he picks up another par.

Rock also two-putts and stays at 13 under.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Thomas Bjorn moves into a tie for second at 11 under with a birdie on No. 17.

• • •

Hole No. 14, Par 4, 490 yards

The fairways seem to be firming up, as Tiger takes fairway wood off the tee and lands it in the middle, but it runs through the fairway and into a bunker. Rock also hits a bunker, but his is on the left.

Rock hits a great shot out of the bunker and will have 10 feet for birdie.

Meanwhile, Tiger finds the greenside bunker in the front and will need to get up-and-down. He plays a fantastic bunker shot and will have a simple one-footer for par. He makes it, but is running out of holes to make a move.

Rock picks up a birdie, with the putt hitting the right edge and falling in. He extends his lead back to two strokes with four to play.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie both miss birdie opportunities on No. 15 and stay at 11 under. Graeme McDowell will head to the par-5 18th at 10 under after a birdie at No. 17.

• • •

Hole No. 13, Par 4, 414 yards

Rock finds a fairway bunker on the right side with his tee shot, while Tiger uses 3-wood and finds the long rough.

Tiger gets it out of the rough and in front of the green, but will need to play a chip for his third shot.

Rock's ball is on the up slope of the bunker, making for an awkward stance. He comes up just short of the green, but with a great look at the pin. But he mishits his third shot and now has a long par putt. He misses and falls back to 12 under with the bogey.

Tiger's chip flirts with the hole and leaves it two feet past the hole. He makes it and now trails by one.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 12, Par 3, 186 yards

Rock gives himself a chance for another birdie, going just left of the flag and about 10 feet past with his tee shot.

Tiger puts it safely on the green, but about 30 feet right and above the hole.

Tiger's putt slides by on the right and he has to settle for par.

Rock leaves his birdie putt short again and picks up a par to stay at 13 under, two clear of Tiger, Lawrie and McIlroy.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy birdies No. 13 to move to 11 under.

• • •

Hole No. 11, Par 4, 417 yards

Tiger and Rock both find the fairway on the left side, with Rock about 10 yards in front.

Tiger makes a bad swing on his approach shot and pushes the ball into the long rough alongside the green.

Rock makes a much smoother swing and will have 12 feet for another birdie.

Tiger plays his impossible third shot nearly perfect, but will still have a lengthy par putt. He makes it for an improbable par.

Rock leaves his birdie putt about one revolution short and his lead stays at two.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 10, Par 5, 582 yards

Taking driver off the tee, Tiger hammers it, but it bounds through the fairway and into a bunker again. Rock hits a good drive, but it finds the left rough.

Tiger has only hit 1 of 8 fairways Sunday.

Rock knocks it down the fairway with his second shot, setting himself up on the left side. Tiger gets it out of the fairway bunker nicely and it cuts across the fairway and into the first cut of rough.

Rock's third shot is safely on the green, 30 feet left of the pin. From 120 yards, Tiger gets a bit unlucky, as his third shot tracks at the hole, but checks on the fringe and it rolls back into the sand.

Tiger is aggressive with his bunker shot, as the second bounce nearly lands in the hole and it runs out and leaves Tiger with about six feet for par. He misses and picks up his third bogey of the round.

Rock misses his birdie putt left and settles for par. He leads by two again.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 9, Par 4, 456 yards

Tiger's group has been put on the clock, as Peter Hanson's front-nine troubles have slowed the group down considerably.

Tiger uses 3-wood again off the tee and finds the left side of the fairway. Rock also splits the fairway with driver.

After missing the last five greens in regulation, Tiger sticks it about five feet from the pin and will be putting for birdie for the first time since No. 3. Tiger drains the putt to make the turn at 1 under for the day and 12 under for the tournament.

Rock also gets it on the green, about 15 feet to the right of the pin. He two-putts for a par and stays at 13 under.

Tiger on the day: 1 under (12 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Graeme McDowell gets an ace on the par-3 12th to move to 8 under.

• • •

Hole No. 8, Par 5, 597 yards

For the first time today, Rock shows some frustration, sending his drive into the rough on the right. Tiger smacks his drive, but it runs through the fairway and settles into a bunker.

Rock hacks it out of the rough, with one of his hands coming off the club immediately, and the ball finds the fairway, but a good distance - about 180 yards - from the green. Tiger has to lay up as well and puts it in the fairway, about 130 yards out.

Rock's third shot fades to the right and finds the long rough alongside the green. Tiger flies over the flag with this third and also lands in the rough.

Tiger takes a free drop because of a sprinkler head and then his chip goes 18 inches long and he taps in for par.

Rock chips out about 10 feet past the hole on his fourth shot and misses the par putt to give a shot back to the field. He leads Tiger and Paul Lawrie by two shots.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Paul Lawrie birdied No. 8 to move to 11 under.

• • •

Hole No. 7, Par 3, 200 yards

Rock is in a zone right now, taking his tee ball just right of the flag and it settles just off the green. He is looking at around 18 feet down the hill for another birdie.

Tiger also tracks it at the hole, but it flies a bit too far and he'll have to chip out of the rough.

Tiger gets it out of the rough nicely and has about three feet for another par. He makes it to stay three back.

Rock's birdie putt stays to the left and he taps in for a par.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 6, Par 4, 469 yards

Rock finds the left side of the fairway with his tee ball, while Tiger takes 3-wood and bounds into the left rough.

Playing from a difficult lie in the left rough, Tiger has about 200 yards left to the pin. His second shot comes up short and right of the green, but has a nice angle at the hole. He plays a nice high chip shot to about three feet. He makes it to stay at 11 under.

Rock looks to be pulling away from the field, knocking his second shot to within four feet from about 200 as well. He makes the putt and moves to 14 under.

Tiger for the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy bogeys the par-3 7th to fall back to 10 under.

• • •

Hole No. 5, Par 4, 469 yards

Using fairway wood, Tiger puts it in the middle of the fairway. Rock pulls driver and the ball bounds through the fairway and just into a fairway bunker.

Tiger backs off his ball in the fairway once to test the wind, changes his club selection and then hits it fat and short of the green, coming to rest in the long rough. He pops it up - about the only play he had - at it runs past the hole and he'll have about 10 feet to save par. He misses and picks up his second-straight bogey to fall back to 11 under. Tiger had only two bogeys in the first 54 holes.

Rock is able to find the green from the fairway bunker, coming to rest about 30 feet past and left of the flag. The long birdie putt comes up short, about two feet from the hole. He finishes the two-putt and now leads by two over Tiger and McIlroy.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy moves to 11 under with a birdie on No. 5.

• • •

Hole No. 4, Par 3, 174 yards

Both Rock and Tiger have played the par 3s well this week, with Rock 4 under and Tiger at 5 under.

Tiger goes long and left and will have a tricky chip coming back down the green. Rock seems a bit perturbed after his tee shot, but the ball lands pin-high and about 25 feet right. Hanson puts his tee shot in the greenside bunker, where it looks to be plugged.

Tiger's chip runs about six feet past the hole and he is faced with his first par-save putt of the day. Tiger misses the par putt and drops back to 12 under.

Rock misses his birdie putt to the right, but makes the comebacker for par and takes the lead by one stroke. After getting out of the bunker, Hanson two-putts for a bogey.

Tiger on the day: 1 under (12 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 3, Par 4, 439 yards

Tiger pulls driver at one the more modest par 4s at Abu Dhabi GC, and bounces through the deeper rough and into the shorter second cut on the left.

Rock also takes driver and finds the long rough on the left, just behind Tiger's tee ball. Hanson is the only one to find the fairway off the tee.

Rock plays a magnificent second shot, leaving it about four feet from the cup. But Tiger upstages him, knocking it to within two feet right under the hole.

Both players knock in their birdie putts to move to 13 under.

Hanson flies right over the flag and comes to rest just off the green. His chip runs out of steam in front of the hole, but knocks it in for another par.

Tiger for the day: 2 under (13 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 2, Par 5, 600 yards

Tiger - who has only managed par on this monster par 5 over the first three days - takes driver and sails left off the tee, right in front of the gallery.

Both Hanson and Rock knock their drives into the fairway, with Rock just off the fairway in the first cut.

Tiger takes 5-wood out of the rough, but finds more trouble on the left and will have a difficult angle to the green. Sitting in a sandy waste area under a tree and left of the rough, Tiger plays a bump-and-run to the front edge for his third shot. Tiger holes the 40-foot birdie putt to move to 12 under, raising his putter to the air as the ball tracked to the hole.

Rock chooses to lay up out of the rough and leaves himself a wedge (about 110 yards) into the green. Rock stiffs his third shot right over the flag and he'll have four feet for birdie. He makes it and stays tied for the lead.

Hanson attempts to go at the green in two, but comes up short and right. He pitches back over a bunker and settles about 15 feet past the pin. He two-putts for a par.

Tiger for the day: 1 under (12 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy rolls in a lengthy birdie on No. 2 to move to 10 under.

• • •

Hole No. 1, Par 4, 405 yards

Tiger is wearing his traditional Sunday red, while Rock is sporting a Gary Player black shirt (still with no cap) and Hanson is decked out in a turquoise shirt with black patches.

Tiger takes 3-wood off the tee for the fourth-straight day and just misses the fairway, landing in the first cut on the left side. Rock uses driver and is on the left side of the fairway, while Hanson pushes his drive well to the right.

With 145 yards to the front and 155 yards to the flag, Tiger puts it 20 feet left of the pin. He rolls it close, but settles for a tap-in par.

Rock is some 40 yards further down the fairway than Tiger, Rock leaves his approach shot underneath the hole for a 12-foot birdie attempt. Rock misses the birdie try and also nets a par.

Hanson takes a penalty drop after finding the water to the right and will put for par from 25 feet right of the flag. He makes the putt for a dramatic par save.

Tiger on the day: Even (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari birdie the first hole to move to 10 under.

• • •

No shame in telling the truth

Robert Rock is paired with Tiger Woods in the final round of the Abu Dhabi Championship and, as Alistair Tait explains, he isn't hiding the fact that he's nervous. Story.

• • •

The start of a beautiful rivalry?

Our Alistair Tait opines that Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are previewing what a friendly rivalry could do for the game of golf. Some of today's biggest names feel that McIlroy is the only player out there that has the talent to challenge Tiger's former dominance. Meanwhile, Tiger seems to be finding his form that could help him extend some of those untouchable records. Regardless, there is "major" intrigue. Column.

• • •

Getting social with Golfweek

Look for European writer Alistair Tait on the scene, we will bring you shot-by-shot analysis of Tiger's round on Thursday. Follow him on Twitter here, or Golfweek Magazine here.

• • •

Previewing Tiger's debut

Tiger Woods finished 2011 in dramatic fashion, beating Zach Johnson to win the Chevron World Challenge and pick up his first win in more than two years.

Does that mean that Tiger is back? That we don't know, but the signs point to a return to weekly contention.

We've spent a lot of time this week dissecting Tiger, including Jim McCabe's feature story on where others feel that Tiger's game is at and whether or not 2012 could be a return to old form. Check out that story here.

Our Alistair Tait also caught Tiger's press conference on Tuesday, and left unimpressed, opining that Tiger needs to open up more about golf-centric questions. Read that story here.

Jim McCabe questions why people would criticize Tiger for playing in Abu Dhabi because he was paid an appearance fee. Check out his tongue-in-cheek column here.

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