OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – It was probably fitting that Tiger Woods‘ weekend at the BMW Championship and his 2019-20 PGA Tour season came to an end with him struggling on the back nine at Olympia Fields Country Club.
Woods wrapped up the final round of the BMW shooting a 1-over 70 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 11 over par. The 1-over-par final round was the best round of his four days there. Woods’ ugly play over the weekend means he won’t qualify for next weekend’s Tour Championship in Atlanta, which also means his PGA Tour season is over.
As promising as Sunday may appear for Woods — with the U.S. Open right around the corner — it was the first time and fifth overall since the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in 2010 that that he went an entire tournament shooting over par in all four rounds.
“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to the first couple days,” Woods said. “[Sunday] was nice. I hit the ball really well and made only a couple putts, but today was more indicative of how I want to play in a couple weeks.”
Woods’ return to the PGA Tour following the sport’s shutdown due to the coronavirus has not been a smooth one. He never found consistency in the four events he played in. He was 6 over par at the Memorial, 1 under par at the PGA Championship, followed by 6 under par at the Northern Trust when the winner, Dustin Johnson, finished at 30 under. Woods’ best finish was being tied for 37th at the PGA Championship.
“You know, it’s been a very awkward year for all of us, with the virus and not having to play,” Woods said. “The majors moved around, question mark on if we’re going to play the Tour, when we’re going to play the Tour, guys testing positive. It’s been a very — I think a difficult year and difficult season for anyone involved in the sport of golf. But we’re certainly coming out on the positive side.”
Woods, as was the case throughout the weekend, got caught up by the back nine on Sunday. He had his second bogey of the round on No. 15 and then drove the ball in the water for a one-stroke penalty on No. 17 for the second straight day. His drop shot hit the cart path, but he still managed to salvage a double bogey instead of triple bogey like he scored in the third round on that hole.
“Well, it’s me missing the ball in the wrong spots,” Woods said. “When I missed in the correct spots I was able to advance in the correct spots, make putts, but if I missed them in bad spots, this golf course will certainly punish you.”
With Woods’ 2019-20 PGA Tour officially over, he’ll shift his focus to preparing for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, which starts Sept. 17. Woods, like many other golfers, said Olympia Fields played more like a U.S. Open course because of how tough it was.
The nearly three weeks off will also help Woods with his back. He said his back will always ache and be stiff at times for him. It’s simply a matter of he’ll have “good days and bad days.”
“I would say trying to clean up my rounds and trying to miss the golf ball in the correct spots,” Woods said on what he’ll work on the next couple of weeks. “As I said, I haven’t done that. It was nice playing a practice round and knowing what I have to deal with. I won’t be able to play on rye until I get to the U.S. Open, so at least — these last two weeks were very nice to play on rye before I head back home and practice on Bermuda.”