Open result will sting for a little bit, says Woods

Arnold Nichols
July 23, 2018

I actually thought there was something about the way Tiger Woods played on this golf course that he was going to be the one that could handle the wind. That scenario used to signify that the tournament was over - drive carefully and arrive home safely. Woods dropped his putter in disbelief when a birdie attempt refused to drop on 13, but he made birdie at the par-five 14th to put his name at the top of the leaderboard - a development that had seasoned golf hacks snapping photos of the huge media scoreboard.

On Sunday, with the sun blazing across the brown, baked-out links and the wind freshening all afternoon to wreak potential havoc with every shot sent airborne, Molinari turned the beast into the most lovely round of his life.

"It will take a while to sink in", Molinari said after winning the Claret Jug. "It's incredible to do something like this and I'm very proud of what I've done".

"I've played with him before in Ryder Cups and in big occasions, so I knew what was coming, and I was ready for it. My record around here was awful so that didn't make me too optimistic about the week but I just tried to not think about it and focus on hitting good shots day by day".

"Playing with Tiger was another challenge because of the crowds and everything, but I felt really good this morning". "I played patiently. Never got down on myself".

Matt Jones, Russell Henley and Zach Johnson were all one behind Harman, who shot a round of 66, while England's Paul Casey moved into a share of fifth place on eight under after a 67, which included six birdies and three bogeys.

Through all that suspense, Molinari never flinched. It's been a tough fight-there's only one victor, unfortunately, in golf.

Molinari played his final 37 holes without a bogey or worse.

You could hear reality sinking in that Molinari could actually win.

Woods admitted it will "sting for a little bit" but said he had learned perspective from close friend Serena Williams, the 23-time women's tennis grand slam champion. "He was working the ball around the greens, and that was cool to see".

By that point Woods, who led at 7 under with a steady beginning as all those around and behind him (aside from Molinari) were faltering, had dropped out of the lead pack and all the way to a tie for ninth after a double bogey at 11 and a bogey at the 12th hole.

After finishing his round, Molinari looked anxious as he waited in the scorer's cabin, watching nearest remaining challenger Schauffele bogey the 17th. He calmly stared down Woods - something few have ever done, particularly in the final round of a major.

The 42-year-old American legend - beset by personal problems and back issues for most of the last decade after once dominating the sport - threatened a shock victory at Carnoustie when, halfway through his final round, he led while most of his rivals were shedding shots.

British Open champion Francesco Molinari of Italy is congratulated by Tiger Woods at the end of the fourth round.

He added that he only started to believe he could win it when the young American Xander Schauffele missed a par putt at the 17th to slip two behind the lead with one hole to go.

Right before his final round, Woods spoke to the Golf Channel, revealing what his mindset was heading into his final 18 holes. "I figured out starting the day that 9-under-par was probably going to be the number".

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