*You thought Tiger Woods’ golf game was slipping before? On Sunday, it may have hit rock bottom.
The world’s No. 1 player shot 18-over par 298 at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, delivering the worst 72-hole score of his 14-year professional career.
“It has been a long year,” Woods said, choking up as he spoke to reporters afterward. The remark was the closest he’s ever come to acknowledging the off-the-course problems with his cheating scandal.
Woods, who closed with a seven-over par 77, tied for 78th in the 80-man field on a course where he has dominated in past years, winning seven times.
Woods could have surrendered his world number one ranking if second-ranked Phil Mickelson had finished solo fourth or better at the WGC event. But Mickelson soared to an eight-over 78 himself to finish 72 holes on three-over 283 to fall out of contention for the top spots.
With the year’s last major title at stake at next week’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, Woods looks unlikely to be a contender for a 15th career major triumph as he chases Jack Nicklaus’s all-time record of 18.
“I definitely don’t want to start 18-over next week, so it’s nice the tournament is over and we can focus on next week,” Woods said. “Shooting 18-over is not fun. I don’t see how it can be fun, especially since my handicap is supposed to be zero. …I’ve got to be ready come Thursday. That’s all that matters. I need to hit the ball better, chip better, putt better, score better.”
Hunter Mahan, meanwhile, shot a 6-under 64 on Sunday and made several huge swings down the stretch to hold off Ryan Palmer by two strokes for his third career victory.