Tiger Woods almost pulled off one of the great golf comebacks on Sunday at the 2013 Barclays, nearly finishing with three straight birdies to force a playoff with eventual winner Adam Scott. Tiger was near the top of the leaderboard throughout Sunday, but it looked like his contention chances, and perhaps FedExCup hopes, were gone on the 13th when he went to the ground in pain.
Tiger has dealt with back spasms and back problems throughout the week. During Wednesday's pro-am, Woods did not hit tee shots or long irons, instead opting to just chip and putt to rest his back by avoiding full cuts at the ball. The back issues persisted all tournament, however, and then on Sunday at No. 13, Tiger sent one completely off the yard and into the water. He immediately went down on all-fours grimacing:
The 13th hole is a reachable par-5 for Woods, who should get home in two and then clean up a nice birdie. That would have pulled him even for the lead with Justin Rose, Kevin Chappell, Gary Woodland and Scott. But instead, the yanked second shot sailed into some green muck where he would have to take a drop.
And that's how an easier birdie hole becomes a bogey.
You would think the bogey and back pain ended Tiger's chances, and perhaps his FedExCup for the next month. But Woods made birdies on the 16th and 17th to get back within a shot of the lead, which stuck at 11-under when all the players around him crumbled and failed to make a move. The back pain was visible during those inward six holes, but there was Tiger just off the green on the 18th hole with a chance to force a playoff.
Tiger said his approach shot into the final hole sailed on him a bit, but he still had a makeable opportunity from the fringe. Woods sent his ball down to the hole and for those intervening few seconds, it looked like we were headed for extra holes with Scott and his old caddie friend Stevie Williams. But the ball was one revolution short, trolling Tiger:
The ailing Woods tapped in for par and the second-place finish at 10-under. We've seen Tiger win a major on a broken leg and torn knee ligaments, so this near-comeback wasn't exactly groundbreaking for the No. 1 player in the world. But a three-straight birdie finish would have been up there for Woods, who still tops the FedExCup standings as we move on to Boston for the second leg. Here are the full results from the field who made the cut with Tiger at Liberty National:
|T19||38||Brendon de Jonge||-5|
|T33||24||Charles Howell III||-3|