CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — The year 2007 is shaping up as one to remember and forget for Tiger Woods.
He'll remember the arrival of his first child, his first golf course design and the birth of his AT&T National at Congressional two weeks ago. But unless he can make something happen at the PGA Championship in three weeks, he'll forget the golf. Woods, without a win since May 6, still stuck at the 12-major mark he reached a year ago, shot a one-under-par 70 at Carnoustie on Sunday for a two-under total, nowhere near good enough to win the 136th British Open.
"Not what I wanted, but it was under par, and that's about it," Woods said.
Woods was never sharp at Carnoustie, and he hasn't been himself for much of this season. At his best on Thursday and Saturday, he strung together enough accurate woods and irons and made enough putts to shoot two 69s. That was a great score at the Carnoustie Open of 1999, but only a pretty good one this week. At his worst on Friday, Woods hit only five fairways (33.3%), and only his scrambling ability minimized the damage to a 74.
He was somewhere in the middle of those extremes Sunday, making consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes but going one over the rest of the way. He hit a pedestrian 60% of his fairways and 61% of his greens. Not even the greatest player the game has ever seen can win with those numbers.
"If I would have posted six or seven under par, I would have been right there in the mix," Woods said. "The conditions and the golf course, the way it was playing, yeah, you can make some birdies. But also if you just missed a couple of shots today, the pins were extremely difficult."
Woods has three victories this year, but history barely remembers who wins the Buick, CA-Championship and Wachovia. He lives for the big four, for winning them, aiming always at eclipsing Jack Nicklaus's epic record of 18 major championship titles.
But after tying for second at the Masters and the U.S. Open, Woods finished out of the top 10 at Carnoustie. He has three weeks to figure out his swing in time for Southern Hills and the PGA, his last chance to save a lost season.