Tiger Woods’ week at the Dell Technologies Championship ultimately didn’t answer much.
It was a better performance than his T-40 at The Northern Trust, but Woods could only fire a closing even-par 71 at TPC Boston to get in the clubhouse in a tie for 23rd at 7 under.
That performance has him projected to drop from 25th to 27th in the FedEx Cup standings. With the top 30 in the standings after next week’s BMW Championship making the Tour Championship, this did nothing to guarantee Woods will reach East Lake.
Considering he was 3 over early in this tournament, Woods did well to sit T-16 and six back entering the final round. But he couldn’t push forward on that.
A potential monstrous charge from Woods never really materialized on Monday.
His day began in fine fashion, as Woods made a simple two-putt birdie at the par-5 second and then chipped to 3 feet at the drivable par-4 fourth for another birdie. That pair of birdies moved him to 9 under and within four of the lead.
But Woods simply took advantage of a pair of easier holes and the leaders were yet to hit that gettable stretch, so he wasn’t really in contention at that moment.
As he encountered tougher holes, he stagnated. Woods would par his next six, oddly making a 10-footer for par at the par-5 seventh but missing a 7-footer for birdie at the par-4 10th. In that time, he actually moved within three. But the leaderboard was so packed on a day with a lot of red numbers, that he still needed a birdie binge to move into contending position.
Woods inched in that direction when he drained an 11-footer for birdie at the difficult par-3 11th to move to 10 under and stay three back as the lead shifted to 13 under.
But that would be the only glimpse.
In a difficult stretch, Woods could only give himself putts of 37 and 24 feet for birdie at Nos. 12 and 13. He parred both holes. His bogey-free day (and his very slim chances to win) then ended when he couldn’t get an 8-footer for par to drop at the par-4 14th.
After failing to bury a 13-footer for birdie at the par-4 15th, it only got worse. Woods’ tee shot at the par-3 16th landed in the left rough feet from the water and then hopped in the drink.
That mistimed splash led to a debilitating double bogey, dropping him to even par on the round. He missed a pair of good birdie looks at his final two holes to cement that 71.
There just wasn’t much cooking on this day. Woods continued his strong play off the tee, as he hit 10/14 fairways on the round and was still unafraid to pull out the driver.
His approach play woes returned, though, as he found a lot of greens (15/18 on the day) but failed to give himself good birdie looks despite driving in ideal positions. He hit 8/9 GIR on the front nine and it took until the ninth hole for him to hit a full approach shot inside 20 feet.
There was a brief stretch where he did start getting approaches into makeable birdie efforts, but then his putter didn’t wish to cooperate. He missed putts of 15 and 7 feet at Nos. 9 and 10. He would later fail on a pair of 13-foot birdie efforts at Nos. 15 and 17 and a 9-footer at the last.
His putter wasn’t awful on the day, as he did make a couple of important putts as well as a few testy comebackers. But it certainly wasn’t a weapon, especially as his issue from Sunday of gunning putts by didn’t dissipate a lot on Monday.
His work around the greens was fine, but clearly Woods wore down overall at the end of the round as his approach play and putting really started to suffer as he limped to the finish.
There was plenty of good golf from Woods this week. But he still looked a decent ways away from winning form at TPC Boston.