Tiger Woods Finishes 2020 Masters at -1 After Nightmare Hole 12 in Final Round

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2020

Tiger Woods reacts after a near chip in on the second hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

A year ago, Tiger Woods was being fitted for his fifth green jacket. 

This time around, he was halfway through his final round before the leaders even teed off.

Woods carded a four-over 76 in his final round of the 2020 Masters Tournament on Sunday, going into the clubhouse in a tie for 39th place at one under overall.

The 15-time major winner was well out of contention coming into Round 4 due in large part to his struggles putting. A strong week of drives and iron play was undone by missed opportunities on the short surface, with Woods topping the 30-putt mark in three of four rounds. 

“The putts just still aren’t quite breaking,” Woods told reporters after Saturday's round. “Some of the downhill putts are starting to move a little bit, but the uphill putts are not."

Woods also struggled with stiffness in his surgically repaired back, a problem that has flared up several times throughout the 2020 calendar year.

Nowhere were Woods' struggles more apparent than his nightmare experience on the par-three 12th, which will go down as perhaps the single worst hole of his entire career. Woods hit three different strokes into Rae's Creek before putting the ball in the hole for a 10. It was by far the worst hole he has ever played at the Masters, with his previous low being an 8, and the first time he's ever reached double digits in his career. 

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The collapse at 12 was quickly followed by Woods' strongest stretch of the tournament. He closed with five birdies in his last six holes, including a run of four straight to end the round. 

His tie for 39th place is one of the worst Masters finishes of his career. Since missing the cut in 1996, Tiger has finished no worse than a tie for 40th at Augusta and finished outside the top 20 only three times.

This likely concludes what's been a full calendar year full of awful performances from the former world No. 1. Tiger has not finished better than 37th in an event since January's Farmers Open. He currently sits 33rd in the World Golf Rankings after ending 2019 in sixth, a disappointing drop given Woods has not missed significant time due to injury.

Tiger's triumph a year ago at Augusta led to some outsized expectation of a comeback to being world No. 1, but it's far more likely these results are closer to the norm moving forward. It's possible, even likely, that Tiger will capture another victory and become the winningest golfer in PGA history. However, he's a soon-to-be-45-year-old with back problems. Even with advances in modern medicine, there is only so long an athlete can reasonably be considered a contender.