His first major of the year, and second tournament since March 31 back surgery, wasn’t much of an audition for U.S. captain Tom Watson. Woods was never the same after opening the British Open with 69. The mistakes kept piling up, and so did the big numbers, and he closed with 3-over-par 75 on Sunday at Royal Liverpool.
“I just made too many mistakes,” Woods said.
He finished at 6-over 294, matching his highest score in the British Open. He wound up 23 shots behind Rory McIlroy, by six shots his worst deficit ever in a major.
He didn’t even beat the 64-year-old captain. Watson birdied his last hole for 68.
“It’s just one day. It’s a snapshot,” Watson said. “It’s not a big deal.”
Woods still has two tournaments left before the end of Ryder Cup qualifying at the PGA Championship. He is No. 72 in the standings, and aside from winning the final major of the year, his best bet is to be one of Watson’s three picks.
Asked if he would be inclined to pick him if were in Watson’s position, Woods said with a smile, “I would say yes.”
“But that’s my take on it,” Woods said. “He’s the captain. Obviously, it’s his decision. He’s going to field the best 12 players that he thinks will win the cup back. And I hope I’m on that team.”
FOWLER’S FINISH: For Rickie Fowler, this is getting downright familiar. He’s not complaining.
For the second time this summer, Fowler played in the final group of a major, failed to overcome a big deficit, and settled for the runner-up spot.
This one came with a pretty good consolation prize: the 25-year-old American all but locked up a spot in the Ryder Cup this fall.
“It’s hard to be disappointed about it,” Fowler said Sunday, not long after accepting the runner-up plate, “because it was such a great week.”
MICKELSON’S MOVE: Phil Mickelson had another good Sunday in the British Open, this time 68 that at least ended on a positive note and allowed him to pick up some Ryder Cup points. Mickelson was more concerned with his play than the points.
“I don’t want to look at it and think about it too much,” Mickelson said. “If I play like I did this week at Akron and the PGA, I’ll be fine. I’ll be on it. But it would be beneficial for both me and Tom (Watson) if I can do it on my own.”
Mickelson has two events left – Firestone and the PGA Championship, worth double points as a major. The only three Americans in the top 10 at Royal Liverpool already were among the top nine in the Ryder Cup standings.
He has qualified for every U.S. team since 1995.