PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — He knew his game was getting close, and he broke through with flair Sunday in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
In a big, big way.
Mickelson and Woods played in the second-to-last group, and Mickelson beat him by 11 shots. He won for the fourth time at Pebble Beach and became only the ninth player in PGA Tour history with 40 wins.
“Pebble Beach … it feels awesome no matter what number it is,” Mickelson said.
It was anything but that for Woods, who was reduced to a supporting role on a cool, overcast day along the Pacific. Right when it appeared as though Woods might still be in the game after holing a bunker shot for birdie on the par-3 12th, Mickelson answered by draining a 30-foot par putt.
Wi, who started the final round with a three-shot lead, four-putted for double bogey on the opening hole and never quite recovered. He closed with back-to-back birdies for a par 72 and his fifth runner-up finish on tour.
It was the third straight week on tour that the winner started the final round at least six shots behind a 54-hole leader going after his first tour victory.
The shocker, though, was how Woods fell apart.
He has been taking big strides with his game over the past few months, and he looked poised to break through after a 67 in the third round at Pebble Beach got him to four shots of the lead.
But he failed to make birdie on the easy opening stretch at Pebble Beach, and even when he made his first birdie at the par-5 sixth, Mickelson sank a 20-foot eagle putt to take the outright lead.
“I didn’t hit it as bad as the score indicated, but I putted awful,” Woods said. “As good as I felt on the greens yesterday, I felt bad today. Anything I tried to do wasn’t working. Consequently, I made a ton of mistakes on the green.”
Two weeks ago in his 2012 debut at Abu Dhabi, Woods was tied for the lead with unheralded Robert Rock going into the final round and didn’t break par, tying for third.