It was a lost year on the PGA Tour for Tiger Woods. Now that his 2014-15 campaign is officially over, here’s a recap of the highs and lows of Woods’ season.
HERO WORLD CHALLENGE
Tiger’s troubles began here, at his first official event of the season. His surgically-repaired back was still a big concern, and he hadn’t played since missing the cut at the PGA Championship at Valhalla.
Woods had since joined forces with swing coach Chris Como and said before the tournament they had reviewed tape of his swings as an amateur in an attempt to regain some of his lost power. OK, but what about simple pitch shots? In his first two rounds, Woods flubbed, bladed and chunked several shots around the greens. It wasn’t pretty. On Saturday, he was visibly ill before, during and after his round and spoke to the media afterwards in a hoarse whisper. He finished tied for last, 26 shots behind winner Jordan Spieth.
While watching his then-girlfriend (more on that later) Lindsey Vonn in a skiing competition, Woods had his tooth knocked out by a cameraman and wore a weird bandana over his face on the slopes.
WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN
Woods didn’t compete for another two months, announcing at the last-minute that he would return to the Phoenix Open, site of his epic ace in 1997 and host city of Super Bowl XLIX being played that week. It did not go well.
“I was caught between patterns—old pattern, new pattern,” Woods said after his round.
FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN
“It’s just my glutes are shutting off,” Woods said after 12 holes. “Then they don’t activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back. So, I tried to activate my glutes as best I could, in between, but it just they never stayed activated.”
Woods skipped the Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, saying he would only return when his game was tournament ready. His plane was spotted at the local Augusta airport and the golf world held its collective breath until he made the big announcement:
It was on. Tiger-mania ramped up all week and climaxed with a Saturday 68 that featured a vintage fist-pump on the 13th green after a long birdie putt, one of six on the day. On Sunday, Woods hit a hidden root on an approach shot and said after the round that “the bone popped out.” He would finish T17, his best major finish of the season.
LINDSEY VONN BREAKUP
Despite being all smiles at the Masters Par-3 Contest, Woods and competitive skier Lindsey Vonn announced their split soon after. In a statement, Woods said, “She has been amazing with Sam and Charlie and my entire family. Unfortunately, we lead very hectic lives and are both competing in demanding sports. It’s difficult to spend time together.”
Woods took another month off, made the cut at the Players on the number and finished T69, and took another month off before reappearing at the Memorial Tournament. He made the cut, but imploded with a Saturday 85, setting a new personal record for worst career round at another course he used to handle with ease.
Tiger didn’t fare much better at the U.S. Open. He duffed a 3-wood in his first round and shot an 80. Then this happened.
Then this happened.
He missed the cut.
After rebounding with three rounds in the 60s and a T32 finish at the Greenbrier, Woods went into the Open Championship at St. Andrews talking the same confident pre-tournament talk he had all season. It didn’t translate. He shot 76-75 to miss the cut and, according to Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck, officially transitioned into cermonial golfer.
After making some progress at another mid-level event (T18 at the Quicken Loans National), Woods said all the right things in his pre-tournament press conference but went out and shot 75-73 to miss his third-straight cut in a major. He also let a f-bomb fly in his opening round that was caught on-air.
Woods entered the Wyndham Championship in an attempt to get into the field for the FedEx Cup playoffs. Only a win or a runner-up finish would give him enough points to qualify, and he almost pulled it off. He entered Sunday two shots off the lead but was derailed by a bladed this chip over the green leading to a costly triple-bogey.
Still, he finished T10, his best result of the season. After the round, Woods was asked about shutting it down for the next two months.
“For awhile,” Wood said. “It will be nice — I got lots of soccer games and practices to go to.”