Tiger Woods still seeking elusive win after rough week in Boston

NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Tiger Woods of the United States stands on the first hole during the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2018 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Tiger Woods still seeking elusive win after rough week in Boston

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Tiger Woods still seeking elusive win after rough week in Boston

NORTON, Mass. – Tiger Woods emerged from the scoring area at the Dell Technologies Championship late Monday afternoon after signing for an even-par 71.

He went straight to a fence-lined group of autograph seekers and signed for a few minutes. Then he disappeared back inside of the clubhouse at TPC Boston.

There wasn’t much left to say after another disappointing round and, for the first time this year, Woods said nothing, turning down all interview requests including one from PGA Tour officials.

It was a miserable day on the course amid steamy temperatures. The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory in the area through 8 p.m. And Woods’ patience finally reached a boiling point.

Caddie Joe LaCava also turned down an interview request after an ugly finish that included a double bogey at the par-3 16th. Woods aimed straight at the tucked left pin and missed by a fraction. His ball ended up in the water.

His 8-foot birdie attempt at the par-5 18th lipped out of the cup and that was the story this week.

Woods matched a season high by hitting 71.43 percent of fairways and ranked 24th in the field in strokes gained approach the green.

He gave himself plenty of birdie looks and got nothing out of them.

Woods still has at least one playoff event to go and remains on track for the Tour Championship at 25th in the point standings.

Sep 3, 2018; Norton, MA, USA; Tiger Woods walks through a large gallery after completing his final round of the Dell Technologies Championship golf tournament at TPC of Boston. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods could not find his way at TPC Boston. (Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports)

It would have been interesting to hear how he plans to handle the quick turnaround, with Round 1 of the BMW Championship in Philadelphia just three days away.

There’s another question that seems relevant at this juncture, with Woods less than one month removed from a solo second at the PGA Championship and having just added his 10th top 25 finish in 16 starts this season.

Is it possible to be grateful and greedy at the same time?

Let’s think about where Woods was a year ago.

He sent out an innocuous tweet on Aug. 31, 2017, with a video of himself chipping in Oakland Raiders athletic shorts and a cutoff tee.

“Dr. gave me the OK to start pitching,” the tweet read.

That’s when most started really following this comeback with varying degrees of curiosity.

Woods admitted this week that he was “very nervous” at that point because his fusion surgery was the last chance to keep playing competitively, and he didn’t want to screw it up. He didn’t want to be in pain anymore either. He went on to say that even now he’s still pumping the brakes on the course sometimes.

“Every now and again this entire year, I’ve probably golfed and played a different shot here and there because there is a bit of me that doesn’t want to feel that way again,” Woods said.

There have been shots he probably wouldn’t have played if the potential payoff weren’t so great, like when he went full recoil on that ridiculous shot out of the bunker at 10 in the final round of the British Open.

It also indicates something we’ve been learning all year – this is still a work in progress. Figuring out the schedule, putting together a realistic practice plan, learning a new swing, having TaylorMade construct a new putter, tinkering with driver shafts, etc.

The swing looked really good in Boston and has for some time. The new TaylorMade Juno prototype putter didn’t look bad – he ranked 36th with 0.753 strokes gained putting – but it didn’t give him major momentum when he needed it.

Woods recently said he views this as one of his best seasons, despite the fact that he’s never played this many events in one year without at least one win. And he’s talked time and time again about how blessed he feels for the chance to compete again.

Woods got a free pass for a lot of things in his prime because he was such an incredible winner. A free pass for skipping interviews Monday is one he actually deserves – he’s been more accountable there than any PGA Tour player over the years.

Bryson DeChambeau was happy to talk after winning for the second week in a row. He was also beaming after shooting 8-under 63 Sunday while paired with Woods.

DeChambeau is one of numerous players Woods has taken under his wing this year. He’s endeared himself to new fans by doing that and it’s clear he’s legitimately grateful for the chance to take on that role.

It’s also clear how badly he wants to trade places with DeChambeau one of these weeks, how important winning still is to him and how frustrating it can be to finish anywhere else.

That much goes without saying. Gwk

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