The final day of the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship ended much like the first three days for Tiger Woods, in frustration and disappointment. Woods shot a birdie-free 74 and dropped outside the top 50 on the leaderboard. It was not the momentum he wanted to grab ahead of the Players Championship next week.
"I didn't putt well again," Woods told Amanda Balionis of CBS Sports. "I felt like I drove it pretty decent today. I made nothing. The chances I had, I missed them all. It was just a bad week. The good news is you wipe your hands clean and go on to the next one."
Tiger Woods: 6th career round in a non-major on the PGA Tour as a pro without a birdie or eagle— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 6, 2018
Woods was 70th in a field of 75 in strokes gained putting on Sunday and finished 72nd overall on the week. To make matters more frustrating for Woods, he finished in the top 10 in strokes gained tee to green on the week and legitimately could have contended if his flat stick had cooperated.
Six three-putts for Tiger so far this week, his most in a non-major tournament since the 2002 Memorial.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) May 6, 2018
Woods made bogeys at the first and third holes on Sunday but parred everything until he came to the par-5 15th. He made a mess of that hole, blowing his drive out to the right causing a forced layup. Then he three-putted from 17 feet for the 6. It was a microcosm for the week. Big Cat took 126 (!) putts on the week and lost nearly six strokes to the field in that category. For somebody who came into the event No. 8 on the PGA Tour in putting on the season, it was a major disappointment.
So now Woods takes a shaky short game to a course next week where you don't want to have a shaky short game. The two-time winner of next week's Players Championship noted on Saturday that his game feels close to winning. It's tough to argue based on the way he's hitting the golf ball, but a birdie-free 74 on Sunday at Quail Hollow in Round 4 did not back up his statement.
The numbers in this sport, especially over time, don't like, and Woods has a lot of work to do to clean up his game between now and four days from now.
"I need to do some practicing with my putter," said Woods. "Work on it a little bit. But I know those greens, I know the putts. You have to hit the ball well there, you can't get away with hitting it poorly. I'll still be grinding, working on my swing and making sure that's solid. That golf course demands everything."
The silver lining here, if there is one, is that Woods is hitting it better than anyone would have imagined coming into the season. He was 24th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained tee to green coming into Quail Hollow and did nothing but improve on that number.
If you have to pick, you'd rather be striking it beautifully than rolling it well, but to win with all 50 of the top 50 players in the world in the field next week, Woods will have to figure out how to do both.