Tiger Gets Rocked
Another lesson for Tiger Woods: saying you have had "great ball control this week" doesn't really sit well when you come out on Sunday and have anything but "great ball control". Woods faltered on the final round of the Abu Dhabi Championship after entering Sunday with a tie for the lead to win his second title in as many starts. When all the smoke cleared, however, it was Robert Rock (ranked 117th in the world) who would shoot a final-round 70 - while paired with Tiger - to come out on top and finish a shot over Rory McIlroy (69). Woods (72) would tie for third along with Graeme McDowell (68) and Thomas Bjorn (68).
"Today I just didn't give myself enough looks at it," Woods said. "Most of my putts were lag putts. I didn't drive the ball in as many fairways as I should have ... It was a day I was just a touch off the tee and consequently I couldn't get the ball close enough."
Prior to today's win, Englishman Robert Rock had only one victory in his career in comparison to his final round playing partner Woods, who boasts 83 wins. To say that Rock holding off Woods was surprising would be an understatement, even according to Rock:
"It's pretty hard to believe that I managed to win today. Very surprised," the Englishman said. "I played good. So I guess I had a chance from early on, a couple of birdies made the day feel a little bit easier."
"But it's difficult playing with Tiger. You expect almost every shot to threaten to go in. It felt a lot of pressure and couldn't afford any lapses in concentration at all."
Rock did have a scare on the final hole after driving his tee shot far-right and into the hazard lining the 18th fairway. While he did have a chance to play the ball lying near a small bush and stone, Rock made the smart play and hit his third shot farther back from the point-of-entry and laid up. One shot and two putts later, Rock found himself in the winner's circle.