While an Oosthuizen victory would be a big surprise, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for someone to emerge from obscurity at golf’s oldest major. Ben Curtis was ranked 396th in the world when he won at Royal St. George in 2003. Todd Hamilton stunned Ernie Els in a playoff at Troon the following year.
If nothing else, someone was bound to win his first major championship at St. Andrews. The only guy on the leaderboard with a major title on his resume was two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, and he was 10 strokes back.
The final round started in fairly calm conditions, giving the early starters a chance to put up some low numbers. Wearing a gaudy, pumpkin-colored outfit, Rickie Fowler of the U.S. birdied the last two holes for a 67. Alvaro Quiros also had a 67, while Trevor Immelman of South Africa and Edoardo Molinari of Italy shot a pair of 68s.
But the wind picked up in the afternoon, making it tougher on those with later tee times.
The greens were Woods‘ main problem. He needed a staggering 35 putts to get through the third round, so he switched back to the Scotty Cameron model made by Titleist that he has used since 1999. He played the first three rounds with a Nike Method, believing it would help him cope with the slower speed of St. Andrews’ massive greens.
Woods‘ putting improved _ he took only 27, his best performance of the week by far _ but his other swings let him down. He had a pair of double-bogeys on the front side, ending any hope of a comeback.