Everything appeared to finally be in place for Tiger Woods' return to the big stage. After working tirelessly with instructor Sean Foley on his swing and finally seeing his hard work pay off with a win at the Chevron World Challenge, it seemed like the only thing that remained was a banner win from Woods.
Sure, Chevron broke the winless streak, but if Woods wanted to legitimize the comeback, he needed to prove he could win a full-field event ... and put together four rounds of solid golf.
Through three rounds at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, it seemed like Woods was on the verge of a win that could've catapulted him back into the discussion as one of the top players in the game.
But instead of capitalizing on the moment, and a 54-hole lead, Woods once again proved that while his swing and putting stroke are certainly improving, he's still missing that killer instinct that used to be the bedrock of his golf game.
After missing only two greens in two of his three rounds, Woods looked completely lost in the final round, rarely giving himself a birdie opportunity inside of 20 feet. A lot of that had to do with an erratic driver that saw him hit only two fairways and six greens during the final round, and fail to make a single birdie on the back nine.
It was a far cry from the consistent play that was a staple of his game for the first three rounds. While Robert Rock deserves a lot of credit for taking down Woods in Abu Dhabi, the former No. 1 sure did take it easy on the Englishman.
For only the ninth time in 61 events, when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead, Woods failed to close the deal on Sunday. Not only that, this was the third time in the last five events that Woods watched his 54-hole lead crumble on Sunday.
This is troubling stuff. Say what you want about this being a mere aberration, but until Woods finally wins an official worldwide event and puts together four solid rounds, the questions will continue to persist about his inability to close things out from the front.
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