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MASTERS NOTES

Tiger Woods' performance is far from masterful

The golfer struggles with his swing and ties for 40th at Augusta National, by far his worst Masters finish as a professional.

April 08, 2012|By Jeff Shain and Bill Dwyre
  • Tiger Woods massages his forehead after hitting from a fairway bunker into the trees along the eighth hole during the final round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.
Tiger Woods massages his forehead after hitting from a fairway bunker into… (John G. Mabanglo / EPA )

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Well, back to the drawing board. Or in Tiger Woods' case, the Jupiter, Fla., practice range.

Two weeks after his romp at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods tied for 40th — by far his worst Masters finish as a pro.

"I had the wrong ball-striking week at the wrong time," he said.

Woods fought a snap hook Thursday, blew his cool Friday, then spent the weekend trying to limit damage as the swing that won at Bay Hill mysteriously disappeared.

"I get out there and I just don't trust it at all," he said. "I fall back into the same old patterns."

Most stunning was Woods' performance on the par fives.

Only twice in 66 previous Masters rounds had he failed to make a birdie or eagle.

That happened twice in Augusta.

Big weekend for Cantlay

The budding golf career of Southern California's Patrick Cantlay bloomed a bit more Sunday, when the UCLA sophomore finished as low amateur at the Masters.

The 20-year-old from Los Alamitos was also the low amateur at the U.S. Open at Congressional near Washington last summer and has now qualified to play in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco in June and the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in July. He probably will turn pro after that.

Cantlay qualified for the Masters by finishing as runner-up in the 2011 U.S. Amateur.

At Augusta National, he shot 71-78-74-72 for 295, two shots in front of the next closest amateur, Japan's Hideki Matsuyama. Cantlay struggled on the front nine Sunday, then put together a late run that included an eagle on No. 15, a birdie on No. 16 and another birdie on No. 17. Matsuyama could have tied with a birdie putt on No. 18 but three-putted instead.

Nice comeback

Bo Van Pelt settled for 73-75-75 early. But he more than made up for it Sunday, making a tap-in eagle at No. 13, an ace at 16 and spinning it back to two feet on 18 for a birdie.

The tally: 64, one off the course record.

But was the magic wasted on a 17th-place performance?

"We'd all like to pick and choose when we have a good round," Van Pelt said. "But we don't get to do that."

Straight talk

Does Sergio Garcia have a confidence problem? Nope. The Spaniard is absolutely certain he does not have the game to win a major.

"I'm not good enough," he said Saturday. "In 13 years, I've come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place."

At the Masters? "In any major," he replied.

After Garcia shot a final-round 71 to tie for 12th, he was asked whether he truly believes he can't win a major.

"Do you think I lie when I talk?" Garcia asked.

What do you think that you are missing?

Garcia: "Everything."

Chip-in

Following a solid 71-69 start, Rory McIlroy stumbled to a 77-76 finish. What lessons did he learn? "I don't know," he replied. "I'll take a couple of weeks off and reflect."

sports@latimes.com

Chicago Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein contributed to this report.

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