Tiger Woods capped the end of a disappointing week at Hoylake with another less-than-impressive round at The Open Championship on Sunday.
Though he opened play with a birdie, Woods went on to card a disappointing round of 75 to put him six over par for the tournament and tied for 69th on the leaderboard in his first major since undergoing back surgery in April.
CBS Sports' Eye on Golf and SportsCenter put Woods' overall performance in perspective:
Tiger Woods shoots 6-over 294 for his week at the British Open. 24 shots worse than 2006.— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) July 20, 2014
Tiger Woods shoots 75 (+3) to move to 6-over at #TheOpen. This will be his worst career major finish in which he's made the cut.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 20, 2014
The 38-year-old would have been confident after opening up with a 69 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, but his challenge for the Claret Jug diminished ever since. Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker tweets that Woods' drought in majors will continue:
Shot 69-77-73-75 this week. Still no weekend rounds in 60s at majors since 2011 Masters. Currently 69th, would be worst non-MC major finish.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) July 20, 2014
Here’s a look at Woods' scorecard Sunday:
The opening holes haven’t been kind to Woods at Hoylake, playing No. 1 and 2 in a combined six over par over the course of the week, with the second on its own at five over.
A birdie on the first put Woods at two over par chasing red numbers for the week, but he immediately gave the course its shot back on the second with yet another bogey:
Tiger Woods opens with a birdie at the 1st but then gives it straight back at the 2nd #TheOpen— The Open (@LiveBulletins) July 20, 2014
The 14-time major champion was never going to provide his usual fireworks after such a lengthy spell away from the game, but most expected better than what he produced.
BBC commentator Peter Alliss was among many that commented on Woods’ lack of form, suggesting that now may be the time to retire—as England Golf's Steven Peet remarked upon:
Anyone getting the impression Peter Allis isn't Tiger Woods biggest fan?! Lightly suggesting he should retire?! #provingheslostit— Steven Peet (@SPeetGolfEast) July 20, 2014
While Alliss' views are extreme, some of the shots that Woods was playing were nothing short of amateur, particularly at the par-four seventh.
An errant tee shot left Woods in a spot of bother in the heavy rough on seven, but instead of accepting his medicine and advancing with an iron, he hacked at it with a three wood.
Having completely misjudged the lie of the ball, Woods roofed his second shot up into the air like a flop shot, as SB Nation's Brendan Porath noted:
The result was a double-bogey, and though an impressive birdie at the ninth put him back to four over for the tournament, things didn't improve for Woods.
After a shaky par at the 10th, Woods proceeded to bogey three of his next four holes.
Tiger Woods has bogeyed three of his last four holes and heads to the par-3 15th at +7 for the week. #TheOpen— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 20, 2014
Meanwhile, 64-year-old Tom Watson was upstaging Woods, putting together a remarkable round of 68 to finish the Open one over par.
Naturally, the Woods vs. Watson comparisons came in, with CBS' Kyle Porter telling the golfing world everything it needed to know:
Tom Watson today: 3 under Tiger Woods today: 3 over #RyderCup— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) July 20, 2014
Such a poor round left the former world No. 1 feeling a little angry, and author Tom Cox was quick to comment on his miserable expression:
If you taunted a scorpion with a stick then forced it to play golf it would look happier about doing it than Tiger Woods does right now.— Tom Cox (@cox_tom) July 20, 2014
After Sunday's final round, Woods aimed to keep his recovery in perspective, per ESPN's Bob Harig:
I just had to get more game time. I think we did the smart thing by not playing too much leading into this event, just want to assess how my back was. And where I need to strengthen, how I need to go about it, how to gain my explosiveness again, and all that's come along.
Woods also commented on the Ryder Cup and whether he thought he should be selected for the competition (via Mike Walker of Golf.com):
"I would say yes. But that's my position, my take on it," Woods said after his final round of the British Open. "He's the captain. Obviously it's his decision. He's going to field the best 12 players that he thinks will win the Cup back. And I hope I'm on that team."
Watson has been circumspect in his comments about Woods. He absolutely, 100 percent wants Woods on the team, Watson has said, but only if Woods is healthy and playing well.
"If he's playing well and he's healthy, I'll pick him," Watson said. "But then the caveat is if he doesn't get into the FedEx Cup. What to do then? And that's the question I can't answer right now."
It's very easy to criticise Woods, and many even enjoy doing it, but just completing four rounds with any niggling injuries in his back should leave him satisfied.
He still has his loyal fans too, and former footballer Gary Lineker leapt to his defence Sunday:
Think @TigerWoods should be cut a bit of slack. Easy to be critical, but he's only just returning from back surgery. Good that he came over!— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 20, 2014
It's been six years since Woods last won a major, and though we all expected him to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 triumphs, time appears to be running out.
Just the PGA Championship at Valhalla remains for Woods to make his mark in 2014, but he'll need a drastic improvement in form if he's to stand any chance.