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Tiger Woods' legendary reputation as a closer had its foundation in his superb final round performance. But today's final round 75 in Dubai — including four bogeys and a double bogey on the 18th, despite being within two shots of eventual winner Alvaro Quiros as late as the 11th — just adds to a spate of poor final round play by Tiger that has lasted almost two years.
Pro Golf Talk's Ryan Ballengee explains:
In fourteen final rounds around the world since (a 69 at the Masters in 2010), Tiger has averaged 72.14 strokes per round. Taking out Woods’ final round of 65 at the JBWere Masters, where he backdoored into fourth place at the end, his average would balloon to 72.69 shots.
Just two years ago, that average was 68.40. In 2008, when Woods was playing with a busted ACL and a broken leg, his average on the final day was 70.
At his most dominant in 2000, it was 68.42. When he played his worst in 2004, he closed in 70.28 shots. Winning just once in 1998, Woods’ final round scoring average was 69.89.
That's not winning golf for anyone on the PGA Tour, much less a player whose near-invincibility was predicated on final round brilliance. If Woods can't recapture that magic, it's very likely that he'll continue to struggle to win events.
Despite a strong field that included the world's top three players, relative unknown Alvaro Quiros came away with the victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Quiros shot a final round four-under 68 to finish at 11-under for the tournament, one shot ahead of Anders Hansen and James Kingston. It was Quiros' third consecutive 68, part of a string of strong play that more than made up for an opening round 73 and allowed him to win the Dubai Desert Classic with an cumulative 277 score.
The world's biggest names fared more poorly. Tiger Woods, ranked third in the world, finished tied for 20th at four-under after a disappointing final round 75 that knocked him out of contention. World No. 1 Lee Westwood finished one stroke better than Woods, at five-under and tied for 15th. And second-ranked Martin Kaymer recovered slightly on Sunday after a 76 on Saturday, throwing in a two-under 70 that moved him up to a tie for 31st.
Woods has not won any events since the BMW Championship in September 2009. And with the Masters about two months away, he's not near the form that has enabled him to win 14 majors in his storied career.
As Round 4 of the Dubai Desert Classic nears, tee times have been released. Tiger Woods, who is a stroke off the lead, will attempt to win his first tournament since November of 2009. He's set to tee off at 12:27 local time (3:27 a.m. Pacific).
Here is the full slate of tee times. All times are local; simply subtract nine hours from the time for Eastern.
|1||07:24||KARLBERG Rikard||DYSON Simon|
|1||07:33||KINGSTON James||BAIN Ross|
|1||07:42||HAASTRUP Mark F||VELASCO Alvaro|
|1||07:51||KHAN Simon||COLSAERTS Nicolas|
|1||08:00||ROCK Robert||FINCH Richard|
|1||08:09||DRYSDALE David||LAWRIE Peter|
|1||08:18||STRANGE Scott||KRUGER Jbe|
|1||08:27||LEWIS (AM) Tom||GOYA Tano|
|1||08:41||DAVIES Rhys||HAVRET Grégory|
|1||08:50||LAFEBER Maarten||WOOD Chris|
|1||08:59||BOURDY Grégory||DERKSEN Robert-Jan|
|1||09:08||MCGRANE Damien||LYNN David|
|1||09:17||LEE Danny||HORSEY David|
|1||09:26||GONZALEZ Ricardo||OTTO Hennie|
|1||09:35||FOSTER Mark||CLARKE Darren|
|1||09:44||JACQUELIN Raphaël||JIMÉNEZ Miguel Angel|
|1||09:53||HAMILTON Todd||BENSON Seve|
|1||10:07||CURTIS Ben||DREDGE Bradley|
|1||10:16||OLAZÁBAL José Maria||FISHER Ross|
|1||10:25||DE VRIES Floris||DONALDSON Jamie|
|1||10:34||WARING Paul||SIEM Marcel|
|1||10:43||JONZON Michael||QUIROS Alvaro|
|1||10:52||MARTIN Pablo||SINGH Jeev Milkha|
|1||11:01||ANDERSSON HED Fredrik||KAYMER Martin|
|1||11:10||STERNE Richard||RAMSAY Richie|
|1||11:19||EDFORS Johan||LEVET Thomas|
|1||11:33||GALLACHER Stephen||WILLETT Danny|
|1||11:42||WARREN Marc||CABRERA-BELLO Rafael|
|1||11:51||DUBUISSON Victor||WESTWOOD Lee|
|1||12:00||WALL Anthony||BROWN Mark|
|1||12:09||HANSON Peter||RUMFORD Brett|
|1||12:18||HOEY Michael||GONNET Jean-Baptiste|
|1||12:27||WOODS Tiger||HANSEN Anders|
|1||12:36||GARCIA Sergio||WEBSTER Steve|
|1||12:45||AIKEN Thomas||MCILROY Rory|
After Round 3 of the Dubai Desert Classic, Tiger Woods is within one stroke of the tournament lead. In typical Tiger fashion, he cobbled together an up-and-down day to finish the round at par.
Woods, a noted golf enthusiast, suffered a double bogey on the ninth hole, but immediately answered with an eagle on the 10th. In all, he responded to an awful, 4-over front nine with a 4-under back nine. Woods is looking to win his first golf tournament of any sort since November of 2009, when he won the Australian Masters. Entering the final round of play, Woods sits at 7-under for the tournament.
Tied for first on the leaderboard are Rory McIlroy, Anders Hansen, and Thomas Aiken, who each stand at 8-under for the tournament. Alvaro Velasco finds himself at 7-under after shooting a 65 in Round 3, having climbed 54 spots up the leaderboard.
The cut has been made and the field of 69 players will enter the weekend rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic with the $2.5 million purse on the line. The top of the leaderboard is tight entering the third round as Rory McIlroy leads the pack at 11-under. He'll tee off at 3:45 a.m. EST with his round three playing partners, Sergio Garcia and Thomas Aiken, who both sit at 10-under. All together, there are eight players within four strokes of McIlroy and the lead, including Tiger Woods, who will tee off at 3:27 a.m. EST.
Golf fans hoping to follow this event live will have to pull an all nighter Friday, as the first group doesn't tee off until 10:15 p.m. EST, and the final pairing will likely go well into Saturday morning before the third round is finished.
||Player 1||Player 2|
|1||10:15 pm||CAÑIZARES Alejandro|
|1||10:24 pm||KARLBERG Rikard||DYSON Simon|
|1||10:33 pm||KINGSTON James||BAIN Ross|
|1||10:42 pm||HAASTRUP Mark F||VELASCO Alvaro|
|1||10:51 pm||KHAN Simon||COLSAERTS Nicolas|
|1||11:00 pm||ROCK Robert||FINCH Richard|
|1||11:09 pm||DRYSDALE David||LAWRIE Peter|
|1||11:18 pm||STRANGE Scott||KRUGER Jbe|
|1||11:27 pm||LEWIS (AM) Tom||GOYA Tano|
|1||11:41 pm||DAVIES Rhys||HAVRET Grégory|
|1||11:50 pm||LAFEBER Maarten||WOOD Chris|
|1||11:59 pm||BOURDY Grégory||DERKSEN Robert-Jan|
|1||12:08 AM||MCGRANE Damien||LYNN David|
|1||12:17 AM||LEE Danny||HORSEY David|
|1||12:26 AM||GONZALEZ Ricardo||OTTO Hennie|
|1||12:35 AM||FOSTER Mark||CLARKE Darren|
|1||12:44 AM||JACQUELIN Raphaël||JIMÉNEZ Miguel Angel|
|1||12:53 AM||HAMILTON Todd||BENSON Seve|
|1||1:07 AM||CURTIS Ben||DREDGE Bradley|
|1||1:16 AM||OLAZÁBAL José Maria||FISHER Ross|
|1||1:25 AM||DE VRIES Floris||DONALDSON Jamie|
|1||1:34 AM||WARING Paul||SIEM Marcel|
|1||1:43 AM||JONZON Michael||QUIROS Alvaro|
|1||1:52 AM||MARTIN Pablo||SINGH Jeev Milkha|
|1||2:01 AM||ANDERSSON HED Fredrik||KAYMER Martin|
|1||2:10 AM||STERNE Richard||RAMSAY Richie|
|1||2:19 AM||EDFORS Johan||LEVET Thomas|
|1||2:33 AM||GALLACHER Stephen||WILLETT Danny|
|1||2:42 AM||WARREN Marc||CABRERA-BELLO Rafael|
|1||2:51 AM||DUBUISSON Victor||WESTWOOD Lee|
|1||3:00 AM||WALL Anthony||BROWN Mark|
|1||3:09 AM||HANSON Peter||RUMFORD Brett|
|1||3:18 AM||HOEY Michael||GONNET Jean-Baptiste|
|1||3:27 AM||WOODS Tiger||HANSEN Anders|
|1||3:36 AM||GARCIA Sergio||WEBSTER Steve|
||AIKEN Thomas||MCILROY Rory|
As the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic sets to being on Saturday, the world's top three players-- Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer -- will likely be playing for much more than just the tournament championship. According to AP, where the three top players finish in the tournament could determine how the players fit in the world rankings next week:
Westwood could lose the top ranking if Kaymer wins and he finishes lower than second, and if Kaymer finishes second and Westwood is out of the top 10. If Kaymer is tied for second, he could still become No. 1 for the first time if Westwood finishes out of the top 36.
Woods could move ahead of Kaymer if he wins and Kaymer finishes outside the top five but his recent form indicates he won't be moving up the rankings soon.
The third round for the Dubai Desert Classic, which reportedly will be much windier than the first two rounds, will feature Woods paired with Dane Anders Hansen, Kaymer with Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed and Westwood with Frenchman Victor Dubuisson.
After a mediocre 1-under first round at the Dubai Desert Classic, Tiger Woods came out scoring in the second round, posted a 6-under to move to 7-under entering the weekend. Woods sank six birdies on Friday in his bogey-free round.
Woods is now just four shots back of the leader Rory McIlroy, who is at 11-under for the tournament after his 4-under in the second round. Between Woods and McIlroy sits Thomas Aiken, Sergio Garcia and Steve Webster.
After his second round, Woods spoke about his improvement from day one to day two:
“It felt good today. I hit a lot of good shots,” said Woods. “I felt like I drove it pretty good and more than anything I controlled my traj (trajectory) which was nice,” he said. “I feel good. We worked out a few of the things last night that I didn’t like.”
The world’s No. 1 and No. 2 ranked golfers — Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer — have been paired with Woods through the first two rounds. They are currently 5-under and 4-under, respectively, for the tournament.
After one round, Rory McIlroy sits atop the leaderboard at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. His 7-under day gives him a two-stroke lead. Meanwhile, on a day in which plenty of golfers managed to shoot well under par, noted golf enthusiast Tiger Woods finds himself deep in the middle of the pack.
McIlroy birdied his first three holes, and finished strong with birdies on three of his final five holes. He's looking for his third professional tournament win, and his first since last May. In pursuit are Sergio Garcia and Victor Dubuisson at 5-under.
Woods, the top-ranked player at the Dubai Desert Classic, experienced a very up-and-down round. He began the back nine with two birdies, a double bogey, and another birdie, then finished with an eagle on the 18th. At 1-under, he's six strokes behind the lead. Woods is still looking for his first tournament win since 2009.
With a borrowed set of golf clubs, Lt. Col. Michael Rowells stepped up to his pro-am tee time with Tiger Woods on Wednesday morning. The Army soldier beat out 16,000 entrants in the chance to play with the world's No. 3 in advance of the Dubai Desert Classic.
In Afghanistan, there is only one nine-whole golf course in the entire country, so the 47-year-old Mississippian hadn't played golf in four months. That made him nervous. Not all of Rowells shots stayed in bounds, but he did make par on a few holes.
"I was nervous, absolutely, for not playing for so long and everything else," said Rowells, wearing an Army golf hat over his crew cut.
"It's not so much intimidating as much as you see someone hit the ball so pure, so often, and you think, ‘Can I get anywhere near that?"' he said. "They tell you, ‘Get off the first tee. Get off the first tee.' It's more than that. It's almost every shot when you see a pro hit it so pure."
For more on the Dubai Desert Classic, stay tuned to SB Nation's StoryStream.
Westwood, Kaymer and Woods all face off this week in the Dubai Desert Classic, where Kaymer will use the skills he's fined tune from watching Woods play.
"When I'm not playing a tournament and I'm watching, say, somewhere in the States, I'm watching how Tiger is playing," the top-ranked Westwood said. "I'm seeing if he's playing well. He's exciting to watch for everybody."
Wood's recent struggles - including a tie for 44th at the Farmers Insurance Open - have led to discussion about whether the 35-year-old will ever return to top performance.
Not to Kaymer.
"He's the best player in the game," Kaymer said. "At the moment, Lee and me, we are No. 1 and 2. But in every golfer's mind, he is the best player in the world. And it would be fantastic if he can get back to where he was and then we challenge him."
Mark O'Meara, who is also playing in Dubai, assures that Woods will win several tournaments this year and maybe even a major.
"I'd never underestimate what Tiger is capable of doing," he said. "He may not be swinging the best. He may not be the most confident player right now. But saying all that, Tiger being Tiger, he has fought back before and he will fight back from this."
The top three players in the world -- Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods -- will not only be participating in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this week, all three will all be playing together in the first two rounds.
According to the first round groups, released Tuesday, the best golfers in the world will have to share the spotlight with one another in the United Arab Emirates. This could be somewhat insulting to Westwood and Kaymer, who have earned their rankings with their recent success while Woods has slipped due to his disappointing finishes lately. But according to Kaymer that isn't really an issue:
"Lee and me are (World) Nos. 1 and 2, but in every golfer’s mind, he (Tiger) is the best player in the world. It would be fantastic if he can go back to where he was."
It certainly is to the benefit of everyone on the PGA for Woods to have a good showing this season, as most of the attention, winning or losing, is directed towards the 14-time major winner.
Tiger Woods will play under the lights along with the world's No. 1 and No. 2 golfers during a par-3 challenge at Emirates Golf Club's par-3 course Monday evening. Woods is teamed up with Mark O'Meara. They will play the best tee-shot and alternate from there. The tournament is a recent tradition to the men's and women's events played in Dubai.
On Wednesday, Woods will play alongside American soldier Michael Rowells during the pro-am. Tiger's father Earl Woods was a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, completing two tours during the Vietnam War. Years later, he named his son after a South Vietnamese army colleague. Woods will tee off with Army officer Lt. Col. Rowells, who beat out 16,000 entrants in a competition to play with Tiger for a day.
Rowells, currently deployed with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade, has a nine handicap.
"I am thrilled and can't believe my luck," Rowells said. "I registered with little hope of actually being selected.
"What a shock I received when I was contacted by my wife with the news that I have won. I immediately had visions of the first tee with Tiger. Truly a dream come true."
For the first time in the Middle East, the world's top three ranked players will be in the field at a European Tour event. World No. 1 Lee Westwood will be joined by No. 2 Martin Kaymer and No. 3 Tiger Woods on Feb. 10 in the U.A.E. at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Kaymer passed Woods in the rankings after Kaymer dominated the field to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
"Winning takes care of a lot of things, including being No. 1 in the world, and I haven’t done that lately. I am encouraged about the future and I’m looking forward to this year," said Woods.
Woods will be looking for a strong finish in Dubai after a disappointing opening tournament at Torrey Pines. Woods finished in a tie for 44th place, the worst positioning ever for Woods in a season opening tournament.
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