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Tiger Woods sets another personal worst record in last-place finish at Memorial

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Two double-bogeys in his last four holes set another of the wrong kind of record for Tiger Woods, who slinks away from Columbus in last place by a wide margin.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Playing alone for the first time in his career, Tiger Woods swiftly finished up his stay at Memorial in under three hours on Sunday. But the events of this weekend at Muirfield Village could resonate for the rest of Tiger's summer.

Following a Sunday round of 74, Woods, the all-time scoring average leader at this event, finished the week 14-over par. It was a horrendous 36-hole stretch that had him in last place by a comfortable margin all weekend. When Tiger finished, the next-closest player to the bottom was Lucas Glover, who was still seven shots better than Woods with a few holes to play.

Several people who saw both rounds up close said his 82 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February was, aesthetically speaking, much worse than the career-worst 85 he carded this weekend. But the indignity of this tournament seems more acute. Woods, as he often does, maintained that he was working through his swing alterations with Chris Como but that things had improved since we last saw him go quietly during early-morning weekend rounds at The Players.

There was no evidence of any improvement in any part of his game. His tee ball continues to be the biggest obstruction to any kind of competitive golf. He yanked drives left and blocked them right all four days, beginning with that awful 4 of 14 fairways first round. His irons and putter, however, allowed him to scramble and recover from those wild tee shots and kept the scorecard respectable through 36 holes. He was far from contention, but at least it wasn't embarrassing.

That all went away on the weekend. The putts stopped falling and more disconcertingly, some of those chipping issues that crippled him earlier this season popped up at times.

Woods had little to play for on Sunday, but another disaster in the 80s would have been an awful way to go into the U.S. Open, which should play much tougher than a Muirfield Village course that had fairly easy scoring conditions. While there was still that unpredictability off the tee, the start of his round was a major improvement over Saturday. He went out in 2-under 34 and the stretch of holes from No. 5 through No. 11 featured four birdies and was legitimately good golf.

But any hope of an under-par round vanished in the closing stretch. He played the final four holes in 4-over to card the 2-over 74. A double bogey at the par-5 15th sent the finish off the rails. More than anything, his performance on the par-5s remains the biggest drop-off from the Tiger of old. He used to dominate those holes with birdies and eagles and zoom past everyone else on the leaderboard. At The Players, he set a new personal worst for doubles on par-5s. This week was more of the same, and he set another of the wrong kind of record just a few weeks later.

He'd post that sixth double on his last hole of the tournament, making a mess up around the green. After a poor bunker shot, he stubbed this chip from a difficult lie up against the collar (via Golf Channel).

He's still not close to playing competitive golf or contending but, despite that ugly finish, the Sunday 74 was 11 shots better than Saturday's round. His final card (via PGATour.com):

tiger scorecard

After that 85 in the third round, Tiger, understandably, declined to speak to the media. But, to his credit, he was rather forthcoming (by Tiger standards) after his Sunday round. Woods, speaking about his grind in full-view of the public all weekend, said, "This is a lonely sport -- the manager isn't going to come in and bring in a lefty or a righty. You just have to deal with it." Woods has maintained that he's gone through down stretches like this when he's changed motions, which he is doing for the fourth time in his professional career, and that's how he tried to frame that abominable third round.

Tiger will now jet home to Florida, where he'll rest for a few days and then start working on that swing again before flying to Seattle for the U.S. Open.

★★★

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