On a chilly day in the suburbs of Chicago, Tiger Woods sputtered and hiccuped like an old pickup truck.
Woods—nine-under par—took to the course on Monday morning four shots behind leader Jim Furyk, who led by one stroke over Steve Stricker.
But rather than put pressure on the leaders with an early birdie or two, Woods stumbled out of the gate and never got going, finishing his round just as he started, nine-under par, and ending the tournament tied for 11th.
Here's a look at Woods' scorecard for Round 4 of the 2013 BMW Championship, via PGATour.com:
His bogey on the first hole was understandable. After putting the ball onto the fairway, Woods blasted his approach shot past the hole, ending up in the deep rough behind the green. A so-so chip led to a two-putt bogey.
But after hitting his best approach shot of the day at that point on No. 5, as GC Tiger Tracker noted, Woods three-putted for bogey:
First very good shot of the day. Has about 12-15 feet down the hill on 5.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) September 16, 2013
It was exactly the wrong way to start the final round of a big tournament, but as he did all weekend long, Woods didn't stay down for long.
Driving off the tee on the short par-four seventh, Woods ended up in the massive front bunker that guards an elevated green. He could barely see the flag from where he was standing, and there was hardly any green to work with, but Woods dropped his second shot to within three feet for an easy birdie putt.
He landed his tee shot on the fairway once again on the par-five eighth hole. Woods attempted to reach the green in two but ended up in the front greenside bunker once again. As GC Tiger Tracker commented, he splashed his bunker shot to within 12 feet:
Found the bunker short and splashes out to about 12 feet. That'd be for back-to-back birdies ...— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) September 16, 2013
Woods then drained the 12-foot putt to move back to even par in the round.
But as was the case throughout the weekend, Woods couldn't build on his positive momentum or sustain it. He dropped another stroke on No. 11 to fall to one-over par after three-putting from approximately 35 feet.
The always-grinding champion found a way to get that stroke back, however, with a birdie on the par-five 14th. After reaching the green in two shots, Woods easily two-putted to get back to even par on the day.
And that's where he finished.
It was a frustrating day for Woods, who barely managed to stay afloat while his peers on the leaderboard were scoring low in the ideal conditions at Conway Farms.
The heavy rain this course received on Sunday made for receptive greens, and many of the players were taking advantage.
Even though he struggled on Monday, Woods drew a big crowd, as Western Golf Association Evans Scholars Foundation mentioned:
Woods may have finished outside the top 10 in the tournament, but he still took the top spot in the FedEx standings, as Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel noted:
Tiger Woods finishes outside top 10 in BMW after bumpy Monday but secures #1 spot in FedEx standing going into last event.— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) September 16, 2013
This could have been exactly what he was aiming for, as CBS Sports' Eye on Golf suggested:
Tiger Woods shoots 71, finishes T11 at the BMW Championship, but still gets what he wanted - http://t.co/Pl29cVgC5Z— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) September 16, 2013
Going into the TOUR Championship at No. 1 means Woods will start with 2,500 points to lead the field, while Henrik Stenson will start with 2,250 and Adam Scott will start with 2000, according to Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com.
Here's a look at the top five heading into the final event, via the PGA Tour:
With one week left, here is your #FedExCup Top 5: 1. Tiger Woods 2. Henrik Stenson 3. Adam Scott 4. Zach Johnson 5. Matt Kuchar— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 16, 2013
Woods has been playing good—but not great—golf for the past month, struggling through some back pain along the way.
Will Woods win the Tour Championship next weekend?
But let's not forget that it's only been a handful of weeks since Woods won the Bridgestone Invitational in impressive fashion.
Woods would have liked to finish strong at the BMW Championship, but it's not like he's coming apart at the seams.
Next up for Woods and the rest of the top golfers in the FedEx Cup standings is East Lake this coming weekend, and he'll certainly be in the thick of it on Sunday in pursuit of the Cup.
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