Woods falters in Abu Dhabi final round


Robert Rock held off Rory Mcilroy and Tiger Woods on Sunday in the Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) Golf Championsh­ip. Rock, who is ranked 117th, shot 2under-par 70 for an overall 13-under 275 to beat Mcilroy by a shot and Woods by two. Woods finished in a tie for third with Thomas Bjorn and Graeme Mcdowell.

Tiger Woods talked all week about his improved ball control — and then it let him down when he needed it most.

Woods resembled the Tiger of old in the first three rounds of the Abu Dhabi Championsh­ip in the United Arab Emirates, stringing together a trio of rounds below par, before shooting a par 72 in Sunday’s finale to tie for third place behind winner Robert Rock and U.S. Open champion Rory Mcilroy.

Rock, who is ranked 117th, shot 70 for an overall 275 to beat Mcilroy (69) by a shot. Woods was a further shot back with Thomas Bjorn (68) and Graeme Mcdowell (68). Eighteen-yearold Matteo Manassero (69) of Italy and George Coetzee (70) of South Africa were another shot back.

“Today I just didn’t give myself enough looks at it,” Woods said. “Most of my putts were lag putts. I didn’t drive the ball in as many fairways as I should have. ... It was a day I was just a touch off the tee, and consequent­ly I couldn’t get the ball close enough.”

It marked the second consecutiv­e time Woods didn’t win after holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead. He failed to win the Chevron World Challenge in 2010 after going into the final round with a four-shot lead on Mcdowell.

The 14-time major winner appears to have recovered from a two-year victory drought in which he was sidelined by injuries and personal turmoil. But Woods, 36, must face the fact that there are plenty of players — known and unknown — who can potentiall­y beat him.

Woods, though, was looking for the silver lining out of his third-place finish.

He insisted he had been steadily improving, hitting a high percentage of fairways and greens until Sunday and putting much better.

“There’s plenty of big events to go, but I’m pleased at the progress I’ve made so far,” said Woods, who won the Chevron World Challenge last month to end his drought.

“I just need to keep building, keep getting more consistent, and today was a day where I putted beautifull­y. Just didn’t give myself enough looks.”

Woods’ next chance to answer the critics, and win an official event, will be Feb. 9-12 in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am.

 ?? By David Cannon, Getty Images ?? Woods: Shot even par Sunday to finish third.
By David Cannon, Getty Images Woods: Shot even par Sunday to finish third.

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