World No1 Tiger Woods is no nearer Jack Nicklaus' much coveted record of 18 major wins, after an abysmal showing on the tournament defining Sunday of the British Open.
Woods finished joint sixth along with fellow american Zach Johnson and Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama. He finished on two over par for the whole tournament, carding a disappointing 74 on the all important final round of play.
Woods was in contention for a top spot at the start of the day at Muirfield, with the 37-year just two strokes behind overnight leader Lee Westwood. But, in an optimum position to strike on any of Westwood's mishaps, he couldn't take advantage. An inability to adjust to the speeds of the greens resulted in his five-year Major drought continuing.
Woods told reporters: “We started on the first day and it progressively got slower. It usually gets faster as the week goes on but this week it was different. I had a couple of opportunities in the final round to make a couple of putts and left them short.
“I’m very pleased with the way I’m playing. I’m right there and I hit a ton of good shots. As I said the only thing I would look back on this week is I just never got the speed after the first day because it got slower.”
Woods is determined to put his poor performance behind him and prepare for the upcoming US-PGA Championships at Oak Hill next month. Nicklaus's record of 18 Major's is still a long way away for the American, but he's hopeful of his chances around a course he knows well.
“I’m going to take a week off and then we have the World Golf Championship at Firestone, a course I like. I’m looking forward to that and then getting up and playing Oak Hill," added the world number one.
“They’ve made a few changes, made the course a little longer than when we played in the past. I’ve won 14 Majors and even though I haven’t won since Torrey Pines I’ve been in there.
“It’s not like I’ve lost my card and I’m not playing out here so I’ve won some tournaments in that stretch and I’ve been in probably about half the Majors on the back nine on Sunday with a chance to win. I just haven’t done it yet. Hopefully it will be in a few weeks.”
Woods did find the time to congratulate Open winner Phil Mickleson, admitting his old rival posted a great score when it mattered to claim the coveted Claret Jug.
“The score he got was certainly gettable out there. The greens are slower and if you have, I guess, the feel to hit it far enough up there into the greens you can get it done," concluded Woods.
“It’s having the confidence to throw it far enough in there because all week they’ve been bouncing over if you threw it that deep. Evidently, he got a pretty good feel for it and made a few putts.
“If it does feel any better it’s because Phil got to three under par. If he had posted one under it would have been a different story. I think a lot of us would be a little more ticked than we are now but he posted three and that’s a hell of a number.”