In a thrilling finish, Tiger Woods came up just short in his attempt to win his sixth Northwestern Mutual World Challenge. Woods had the lead most of the day, but Zach Johnson ultimately overtook him in a one-hole playoff, showing persistence and focus.
Here's a look at Tiger's final round scorecard.
A Furious Finish
With a two-shot lead heading into the 14th hole, Woods was mildly comfortable, but that quickly changed. He bogeyed the hole to open the door for Johnson. The 37-year-old managed a par on the hole and matched Woods' birdie on the 16th to remain within a shot.
On the 17th hole, Johnson pulled even with a birdie when Woods came away with a par. On the last hole of regulation things really got crazy.
Woods' second shot found the bunker, and Johnson seemingly had the huge advantage with his second shot lined up nicely to find the green and set up a birdie chance. Instead, he shanked the attempt and found the hazard. He nearly clipped a duck in the pond with the wayward attempt.
It was shocking to see an upper-echelon professional take such a bad shot in a clutch situation. The shocking shots weren't over, but the bad news for Johnson was. In an equally stunning turn of events, Johnson holed his next shot from the drop zone.
Zach Johnson holes out on No. 18 - https://t.co/IeixJQ9Ysx— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) December 8, 2013
All Tiger could do was smile.
This the face you make when someone makes a par like that. pic.twitter.com/6yEK2VVfvF— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) December 8, 2013
To Woods' credit, he quickly gathered himself and nailed a superb shot out of the bunker. It set him up for an easy birdie and he forced the playoff on the same hole.
In the playoff, Woods again put himself in a precarious position working out of the bunker. Again he battled his way out for a makeable putt with a chance to force another hole. However, this time his six-foot putt went around the hole and came out.
Johnson walked away with the improbable win. You won't find many tournaments that finish with more excitement. A few others played well on Sunday, but Tiger and Johnson were quite the closing act for the event that will be played at a new location beginning next year.
Here's the top portion of the final leaderboard.
|1||Zach Johnson*||-13||-4 (68)|
|2||Tiger Woods||-13||-2 (70)|
|3||Bubba Watson||-9||-2 (70)|
|4||Matt Kuchar||-9||-5 (67)|
|5||Webb Simpson||-7||-4 (68)|
PGATour.com *won playoff
Highlights of Tiger’s Early Play
After breaking even on the opening hole, Woods birdied the par-five second hole for the third straight day. This had been a key to Woods getting off to a strong start in the tournament. Ever since he exploded for the 10-under 62 on Friday, he ruled the first two holes of the course. Through the last three rounds, Woods was four under par in this mini stretch.
He held steady on the third and fourth holes and again took advantage of a par-five opportunity with a birdie on the fifth. It was the first time he was able to birdie the hole since the first round and it seemed to give him even more confidence. As of the fifth hole, he had extended his lead over Johnson to three strokes.
Tiger was able to play the course even through the rest of the front nine and the first four holes of the back nine. It was a calm before the storm that ensued on the 14th hole.
Woods has nothing to be ashamed of, as he played well throughout the tournament.
Obviously, he's Tiger, so anything short of the winner's circle will always draw criticism. He was just beaten by a hot golfer who made a collection of amazing shots on Sunday.