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Woods resigned to accept his fate

He kicked a club out of frustration earlier in the tournament. He chastised himself with colorful language on more than one occasion. But by the time he finished Sunday, Tiger Woods had come to grips with the fact his swing is still unreliable, his game still needs more work.

Woods shot a final-round 74 Sunday and tied for 41st, his worst Masters finish as a professional. He birdied just one par-5 Sunday and a scant three for the week. This from a player who had played the four par-5s to the tune of minus-133 in his 17 previous Masters.

Expectations were high for Woods coming into the week. He placed tied for fourth here each of the last two years while striving to put his life and his game in order. That mission appeared accomplished when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill two weeks ago -- his first PGA Tour win in 2 1/2 years. It was fool's gold. Woods never fired in his search for a fifth Masters title and his first since 2005.

"If I look back on the week, I played the par-5s atrociously," he said. "This is a golf course you just have to dominate the par-5s, and I did not do that at all this week."

More than the par-5s factored in his struggles. Of players who made the cut Woods hit fewer fairways (32 of 56) than everybody but Aaron Baddeley (Woods hit predominantly 3-wood at Bay Hill). He ranked 50th in greens in regulation, finding 40 of 72.

"I didn't hit the ball very good this week, and what's frustrating is I know what to do, and I just don't do it," he said. "I get out there and I just don't trust it at all. I fall back into the same old patterns again, and I just need to do more reps. Thank God my short game was good this week and my putting was really good. Unfortunately they were all for pars, not for birdies."

In the end Woods accepted his fate, a departure from past form. He's never been a willing interview in the past on those rare occasions when he played poorly here.

"Well, you're not going to play well every week," Woods said. "Unfortunately it was this week for me. I had the wrong ball-striking week at the wrong time. You know, just got to keep building, keep working and keep progressing.

"I can get it on the range, I can get it dialed in there, and we'll work on the same things and it feels really good, and I go to the golf course and I just don't quite trust it. It just means I just need to do more reps."

email: bdicesare@buffnews.com