Tiger Woods’ cold putter leaves him speechless at WGC-Mexico

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - FEBRUARY 24: Tiger Woods of the United States reacts on the 15th green during the final round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on February 24, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Tiger Woods’ cold putter leaves him speechless at WGC-Mexico

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Tiger Woods’ cold putter leaves him speechless at WGC-Mexico

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MEXICO CITY – Tiger Woods was nearly speechless when he left Mexico.

An uncooperating putter can do that to even the best player of his generation.

For the second consecutive day, Woods refused to speak to the media at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, his frustration reaching a boiling point at the end of Sunday’s play.

While the record shows he notched a tie for 10th with rounds of 71-66-70-69, he finished 13 shots behind Dustin Johnson. Another set of numbers – 29-26-35-31 – angered him, as well. Those were the number of putts he needed in each round as he struggled with the bumpy Poa annua greens at Club de Golf Chapultepec, 7,800 feet above sea level.

So, no media, except for a few words he gave to a PGA Tour media official.

“Unfortunately, I just did not putt well the last couple weeks and it has not been very good,” Woods said.

No, it hasn’t been. Woods had five three-putts and one four-putt this week. In his previous start the week before heading south of the border, Woods had six three-putts in the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

All those putts came off the Scotty Cameron Newport putter he used to win 13 of 14 majors. So as he did last year when he used three different putters, Woods could be making a change before returning to the PGA Tour in two weeks at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, which he’s won a record eight times.

The week after, he’ll be at The Players in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

“Well, I’ll do a little bit of practicing. I’ll be doing a lot of training and try and be ready for the next couple weeks,” Woods said.

At least Woods is trending in the right direction. He began the season with a tie for 20th in the Farmers Insurance Open, then finished in a tie for 15th at the Genesis ahead of his tie for 10th in Mexico. Incidentally, Woods finished in a tie for fifth in last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Joe LaCava, Woods’ caddie, said his boss is going in the right direction and did a lot of good things this week. Once the putter gets going, LaCava added, Woods will be right there in any tournament he plays.

Paul Azinger agreed. The NBC Sports/Golf Channel lead analyst said Woods needs a change of venue to transform his putting.

“The knock on Tiger this week has been that he hasn’t played aggressive enough. But really in the end it’s the putter that’s kind of let him down,” Azinger said. “It’s a safe bet when Tiger gets to Florida he’s not going to have these kinds of problems as he’s having on this Poa annua grass this week.

“So, you big Tiger lovers out there, stay optimistic.”

There were a lot of Tiger lovers here as he played in Mexico for the first time. His galleries dwarfed all others as the spectators screamed his name for four days.

Unfortunately, Woods couldn’t put on a good show. His first shot of the tournament – a 5-wood at the 316-yard, downhill par-4 first – went out of bounds. His second shot nearly went out of bounds.

But Woods rebounded with a 66 in the second round and was just five shots out of the lead on the 15th hole in the third round. He had 251 yards to reach the par-5 green in two. He had a 5-iron in his hand and was one solid shot from making some noise.

Well, he made some noise, all right. His approach went into a bunker and he blasted out to 25 feet. From there, he needed four putts to finish off a double-bogey 7. He missed a putt inside 4 feet, another from inside 3 feet.

He was stunned. The fans were stunned. The golf world was stunned.

It was the 12th four-putt in his career and just his third four-putt on the PGA Tour in 13 years. On the next hole, he three-putted from 40 feet.

Those two holes summed up his week.

A couple more three-putts were enough to close his mouth at week’s end. Gwk

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