It finally happened. Tiger Woods blew a lead after 54 holes at a major for the first time in his career. He failed, he folded, he fell apart, and like everything else he does, Tiger did it spectacularly. To put it another way: Tiger Woods pulled a Phil Mickelson.
Woods blitzed the first three days of the PGA Championship, entering Sunday at 8-under with a two shot lead over Y.E. Yang, a 37-year-old with one career tour win. The chasm between Yang was so great that after 23 holes while Tiger was -4, Yang sat at +5. In two and a half days Woods allowed someone to catch him from nine shots back. Not just catch him, but run away from him.
On Sunday Woods, usually a Rivera-like closer, became a Gregg-like closer as he chunked his way to a 75 and finished the tournament at 5-under. Yang flew by him, finishing at 8-under. Make no mistake about it, Yang is a nice story, but Tiger lost the 2009 PGA Championship.
Woods made just one putt outside of five feet after the 16th hole on Friday. Tiger needed 33 putts to make it through Sunday’s round. His swing with every club other than his putter looked great. But once he got on the greens, Woods was decidedly Phil-like.
With Mickelson out of contention, Tiger provided the collapse of the year. His cringe-inducing putts continued all the way down the back nine at Hazeltine. He bogeyed five holes on Sunday, including the 17th and 18th. In other words, he was the opposite of clutch. He was what would happen if Bill Buckner and Lindsey Jacobellis had a love child.
To be fair, McD did cast all of his hexing power in Woods’ direction on Friday. On top of that, Hickey swears he saw a guy with a Saints hat trailing Tiger all day Sunday, so you know there was bad mojo in the area. But even so, this is Tiger Woods. He’s supposed to be immune to all of these powers.
For once in his life, he wasn’t.