Tiger Woods, the 2019 Masters champion, recorded the worst hole of his glittering career at the 2020 championship at Augusta National, Georgia, on Sunday.
On the par-three 12th hole, known as Golden Bell, Woods’ tee shot landed on the far bank of Rae’s Creek and rolled back into the water. Woods said he misread the wind on the shot after it shifted direction following the tee shots of his two playing partners.
After a drop, he hit his third shot a little farther but it, too, rolled back into the water. His third attempt to clear the creek, his fifth stroke, went into a bunker behind the green.
Left with an awkward uphill stance — his right leg extended and his left almost completely bent — Woods flew the green on his sixth shot and plunked it into the water.
He went back to the bunker, shifted up and down a couple of times to get comfortable in the same crooked stance, and put shot number eight on the green, about four metres from the pin.
His first putt slid by the left edge of the hole, leaving him a tap-in for 10, a septuple-bogey. It was the highest score on any hole in his career.
“I committed to the wrong wind,” he said. “The wind was off the right for the first two guys, and then when I stepped up there, it switched to howling off the left. And the flag on 11 was howling off the left. I didn’t commit to the wind, and I also got ahead of it and pushed it too. Because I thought the wind would come more off the right and it was off the left. And that just started the problem from there.
“From there, I hit a lot more shots and had a lot more experiences there in Rae’s Creek.”
In the four rounds of his 2019 Masters victory, Woods required only 12 strokes to par the 12th on four straight days.
Don’t write off Tiger Woods
Such a disaster would have left many golfers shattered but not Woods, who said in June last year he had 10 years of golfing left in him.
Woods responded with five birdies in his six final holes to finish with a 76, one shot better than his worst score of 77 shot during the third round of the 1995 Masters, when he was 19 years old and playing the event for the first time.
“That’s part of our sport,” Woods said. “This sport is awfully lonely sometimes. You have to fight it. No-one is going to bring you off the mound or call in a sub. You have to fight through it. That’s what makes this game so unique and so difficult mentally. We’ve all been there, unfortunately. I’ve been there and you just have to figure out the next shot, and I was able to do that coming home.”
Woods shot scores of 68-71-72 and 76 to finish in a tie for 38th, one spot off his best in seven starts since returning from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. He tied for 37th at the PGA Championship.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) November 15, 2020
Woods will not have to wait too long to try and recapture the Masters, an event he has won five times in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2019.
The Masters is scheduled to be the first major of 2021 if the coronavirus pandemic allows it to return to its usual spring time.
Then consider this, thanks to Justin Ray.
2012: won Masters
2013: made 10 on 12th hole on Sunday
2014 won Masters
2019: won Masters
2020: made 10 on 12th hole on Sunday
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) November 15, 2020