Tiger Woods would have hoped to finish his Masters title defense with a strong final round, instead he suffered a humiliating meltdown on the hole which was so kind to him in his 2019 triumph at Augusta National.
The 155-yard par-three 12th is fronted by Rae’s Creek and, with three bunkers to the rear, it is a treacherous test for even the best, as the 15-time major champion found to his cost on Sunday.
In last year’s Masters it was his close rivals Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Tony Finau who all found the water in front of the green, but this time Woods did so three times on his way to a 10 — the highest single-hole score of his professional career.
Woods, who was three-under-par at the time, hit his initial tee shot into Rae’s Creek, much to his initial dismay. But it was to get far worse.
Taking a penalty drop, he struck his next shot onto the green but it spun back into the water, before overcompensating with his fifth shot and firing it over the green into a bunker.
Faced with a difficult stance in the bunker, Woods thinned his shot back into Rae’s Creek.
After taking another drop, Woods eventually made it out of the bunker with his eighth before two-putting from the fringe of the green for his double-digit score.
Dropping back to four-over-par, Woods hit back in typical style with a stunning five birdies in the next six holes, but the damage had been done on the 12th as he finished with a round of 76 at one under.
Woods said a change in the wind direction on the hole had foxed him with his first shot off the tee.
“I also got ahead of it and pushed it, too, because I thought the wind would come more off the right and it was off the left, and that just started the problem from there,” he said .
“From there I hit a lot more shots and had a lot more experiences there in Rae’s Creek.
“This is unlike any other sport in which you’re so alone out there and you have to figure it out and you have to fight and no one is going to bring you off the mound or call in a sub and you just have to figure it out, and I did coming in,” he added.