Tiger Woods didn't win the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., but he kept fighting until the end. The four-time winner closed with an even-par 70 on Sunday, playing the back nine in 3-under.
Tiger finished at 4-over 214 and tied for 40th, 14 shots behind winner Jason Dufner.
All week long, Woods had trouble finding fairways off the tee, hindering his scoring chances. After winning the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational by seven strokes a week ago, Tiger managed only 10 birdies at Oak Hill, where he has yet to break par in eight competitive rounds.
"I put four good rounds together last week. Unfortunately, it wasn't this week," Woods said. "Didn't seem to hit it as good and didn't make any putts until the last few holes today. But I didn't give myself looks and certainly didn't hit the ball well enough to be in it."
An early starter with Brooks Koepka on Sunday, Tiger opened with seven consecutive pars. His best birdie opportunity came at the 172-yard, par-3 sixth, where he hit an 8-iron eight feet left of the pin and missed the putt.
A poor drive into the left trees led to a bogey at the 452-yard, par-4 eighth. Woods pitched out into the fairway and hit his third shot 15 feet past the cup and two-putted.
At the 462-yard, par-4 ninth, Tiger pulled his tee shot left. He punched out again and knocked his third shot 20 feet behind the hole. Woods three-putted from there by lipping out a four-foot bogey attempt and made the turn at 3-over 38.
But Woods didn't quit. After parring the 10th and 11th holes, he finally recorded his first birdie of the round at the 377-yard, par-4 12th hole by hitting a beautiful approach five feet left of the pin. After two-putting the 554-yard, par-5 13th hole from short of the green for a par, Tiger added his second birdie of the day at the short 310-yard, par-4 14th, where he hit a driver right of the green and got up and down.
Woods carded his third birdie in four holes at the 186-yard, par-3 15th hole, where he stroked in a 40-foot putt, easily his longest of the tournament. The last three holes were an adventure with Tiger overcoming poor drives to make scrambling pars on the par-4s. At the 496-yard 18th, he drove in the right rough and then hit his second shot well left of the green. Woods then hit a wonderful sand wedge four feet from the hole and sunk the putt.
Woods received a warm ovation from the fans as he walked off the 18th green, and acknowledged them with a wave.
Ultimately, Tiger's inability to find fairways cost him. He hit nine of 14 on Thursday, seven on Friday, five on Saturday and four on Sunday. Woods appeared to favor his back after his tee shot on 13.
"It was tight all day," Woods said. "Just one of those things."
On Sunday, Woods hit 12 greens in regulation and used 30 putts.
With 14 major titles, Tiger is second only to Jack Nicklaus with 18. However, he has now gone five years without adding to his total.
"I was close in two of them; I was right there and certainly had a chance to win the Masters and the British Open this year," Woods said. "The other two, I just didn't hit it good enough. Just the way it goes."
Tiger has a PGA Tour-leading five victories this year, including two WGC crowns and the PLAYERS Championship. Woods admitted he was disappointed but not concerned about failing to contend this weekend.
"It's more frustrating not being in it," Woods said. "Having a chance on the back nine Sunday, I can live with that. It's always frustrating going out there ... I'm 3-over today, got to (7-over) and I'm grinding my tail off coming in just to shoot even par for the day. And I'm nowhere in it."