Woods looks for positives out of near-miss at US Open

Pebble Beach: There were no high-fives and fist-pumps for Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach on Sunday after the world number one finished tied for fourth.

Like any perfectionist, the American was unable to hide his disappointment after shooting a final round of four-over par 75 to finish three strokes behind Briton Graeme McDowell.

But Woods, who won the last U.S. Open held at Pebble Beach in 2000 by 15 shots, was still able to take some consolation from getting so close after a year in which his world was turned upside down after the revelations of his extra-marital affairs.

"I feel like I can play now. I`ve got a feel for my game, the shape of my shots, what I`m working on," he said.

"I feel like I put some pieces together this week. It`s a long process but I`ve put some of it together and I hit some shots this week that I haven`t hit in a long time."

Woods has played just two majors since returning to the game in April after a five-month break following the revelations of his private life.

He finished tied for fourth at the U.S. Masters and again at the U.S. Open and while disappointed not to win either after getting so close, he said those results showed he was quickly getting back to his best.

"The two major championships I finished I had a chance to win both of them so it`s not too bad," he said.

"It`s just disappointing because I started off so poorly again and left myself above the hole. Every putt I missed was from above the hole."

Woods is just four majors short of equalling Jack Nicklaus` record of 18 but has won just one major in the past three seasons as injuries and his self-imposed exile limited his appearances.

He has struggled to rediscover his best in the tournaments he has played this year and was given little hope of winning this championship after failing to record a single birdie in his first round and limping to the halfway stage at four-over.

But with the Californian links course playing so difficult after organisers decided to tough it up after Woods` runaway victory a decade ago, he was able to storm into contention after a brilliant third round of 66, which included birdies on each of the last three holes.

He started the final day in third place, five shots off the lead, but lost all momentum when he bogeyed three of the first six holes, three putting on two occasions and driving over a cliff edge on the other.

"I really didn`t hit too many bad shots I just kept leaving myself in the worst spots," he said.

"You take away those three mental errors right there and I`m right there. I`m tied for the lead."

"Our game plan was just if we shot under par for the day we would probably win. But the golf course was playing too hard, too fast and you can get away from you pretty quickly out there."

Bureau Report


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