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By T.J. Auclair and Stan Awtrey, PGA.com
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - It's not often that Tiger Woods finishes his Sunday round before the lead groups even reach the first tee. But that's the sort of week it was at the PGA Championship for the No. 1-ranked player in the world.
And once again, Woods will have to wait for major championship win No. 15.
Woods - a five-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2013 - was never a factor in the season's final major, as he matched his best score of the week with an even-par 70 to finish at 4-over 284. He has now completed eight competitive rounds at Oak Hill without breaking par.
"It's more frustrating not being in it," Woods said. "Having a chance to win it on the back nine on Sunday, I can live with that. It's always frustrating going out there and grinding my tail off coming in just to shoot even par for the day. That's tough.
"I put four good rounds together last week, unfortunately it wasn't this week," he added, referring to his runaway victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. "Didn't seem to hit it as good and didn't make many putts until the last few holes today. But I didn't give myself many looks and certainly didn't hit the ball good enough to be in it. Jim [Furyk] is 9 under par right now. I've had nine birdies through 72 holes, so not enough birdies."
After opening with seven consecutive pars on Sunday, Woods ran into a little trouble with a bogey on No. 8 followed by a double bogey at No. 9. He pulled things together on the back with three birdies in a four-hole stretch beginning on No. 12 to get back to even, where he would finish his day.
He again had trouble keeping his tee shots in the fairway, hitting only 4 of 14, his least accurate round of the week. He somehow managed to get to 12 greens in regulation and saved par on four of the ones he missed.
"They cut (the rough for the tournament and then obviously let it go as the week went on," Woods said. "It's back to where it was last week right now. It's really tough and the greens are starting to pick up a little bit of speed."
One of his biggest saves came on the 18th hole. He hit his tee shot in the right rough and air-mailed his approach in the rough on the left of the green. Woods then played a nice pitch to within three feet and made his par.
And though Woods wasn't able to get much done in terms of scoring, he didn't feel that would be the case for the rest of the field.
"The golf course is set up to be had," he said. "There are a few really hard pins out there, really, really hard pins. If you can navigate through those holes, make your pars, there's certainly some gettable pins, as well.
"With it being soft, they give us some pretty easy pins from 12 on in," he noted. "It'll be interesting to see how some of these guys play, especially some of the shorter hitters. You still got the huge backstop behind it and you can almost hole it. It'll be interesting to see what happens."
With his PGA Championship in the books, Woods now hasn't won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open, a stretch of 18 events in which he's competed without a victory. He tied for fourth in the Masters this year, and followed that with a tie for 32nd at the U.S. Open and a tie for sixth at the Open Championship.
"I was close in two of them," Woods said. "I was right there and certainly had a chance to win the Masters and the British this year. The other two, I just didn't hit it good enough. Just the way it goes."
Woods plans to take a brief break to spend time with his children before returning for the FedExCup playoffs that begin with The Barclays in two weeks.
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