The No. 1 player in the world rankings faltered early, rallied late and will forever be haunted by that two-stroke penalty for an improper drop on the 15th hole on Friday. Considering his third shot there that fateful day surely would have left him an excellent birdie opportunity until it hit the flagstick and caromed back into the water, that hole — and his incorrect drop — essentially cost him the tournament. He took an eight on the hole instead of a possible four, the same number of strokes between him and the two men in the playoff.
“I played well but just didn’t make enough putts,” Woods said. “I had the opportunity. If I shot 65, I thought I could win it outright. … I had a hard time getting accustomed to the speed [of the greens]. It was so much slower than it was [Saturday]. Putts just weren’t rolling out.”
They also were jot rolling in at all the proper times for so many of the contending players on the leaderboard.
Day could also look back in anguish at his finish on Saturday when he made two sloppy three-putt bogeys on last two holes of the day, costing him a share of the 54-hole lead. Day nearly holed out his 22-footer for birdie at the 18th on Sunday, missing by inches, but as it turned out, even if he had made the putt, he would not have made the playoff.
“It was really tough,” he said. “The pressure got to me a little bit.”
The same might also be said of third-round co-leader Brandt Snedeker, the 32-year-old Nashville native who had sounded so confident about his chances for his first major title Saturday evening after his third-round 69. Instead, he fell out of contention with back-to-back bogeys on his first two holes on the back nine Sunday, then lost any chance with another bogey at the 14th. He signed for a 75 and tied for sixth at 4-under 284.
Scott began the day only a shot off the 54-hole lead, and admitted he also had trouble reading the speed of the greens, particularly when an all-afternoon rain slowed them considerably.
“It was just an unreal day where everything fell my way,” he said. “I just kept plugging away. I’m so proud of myself and everyone around me. … I’m a proud Australian, and I hope this sits well back home. It’s hard to put it all together in my mind. It’s a real honor.”