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Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Classy Woods restores pride
Tiger Woods during his final round at The Open
Woods earned the respect of the Muirfield fans
Tiger Woods said he had not lost his affection for The Open Championship despite the British weather helping to destroy his bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Woods completed his fourth round at Muirfield on Sunday with a six-under-par 65, which was enough to leave him on an even-par 284 for the tournament.

But it was not sufficient to keep alive his hopes of winning all four of golf's majors in the same year - his disastrous 81 on Saturday having left him too much to do.

Woods' round on day three had co-incided with some of the worst conditions ever seen at a major championship, as unplayable wind and rain battered the Scottish links course.

"Mother Nature beat Tiger in the end, that was it," said Britain's Nick Faldo.


I think sometimes the media and everybody tend to lose perspective on how difficult it is to win a major championship
Tiger Woods

"He was out in the worst of it, and not even Tiger can beat that."

But Woods himself said: "This is the oldest championship there is in our sport. One that all the players certainly respect and have admiration for.

"(Saturday) was just one of those fluke days that you had to throw out. It was just a brutal day for all of us.

"I played some of the toughest conditions I have ever seen."

Faldo also said Woods was still capable of winning all four majors in the same calendar year.

But the 26-year-old American was at pains to point out that he has held all of the titles at the same time.

"I have already accomplished it (the Grand Slam)," he said.

"The only difference is it (a calendar slam) would be a different way of doing it."

Woods pictured during Saturday's disastrous third round
Woods could scarcely believe his third round

Woods has won seven of the last 11 Majors and has already won two this year.

"Two majors is still a great year," he insisted.

"I think sometimes the media and everybody tend to lose perspective on how difficult it is to win a major championship."

Woods began Sunday 11 shots off the pace and dropped another shot at the 378-yard third.

But he hit back with successive birdies at the fifth and sixth before holing an eagle on the 508-yard ninth to reach the turn in three-under-par 33.

Further birdies followed at the par-four 11th, the 191-yard 13th and the par-four 15th.

It was a finish with a flourish - even if he missed long-range birdie putts from around 20 feet at the final two holes.

Woods was warmly applauded by the large galleries flanking the 18th fairway as he walked down the last.

"And it wasn't only 18 but all the way round the fans were extremely respectful," said Woods.

That was typical of the gracious attitude to defeat which has endeared Woods to the Scottish golfing public this week.

He will hope to be admired for his golf rather than his personality the next time he visits Britain but for now he was happy to content himself with an even-par final round.

Summing up, Woods said: "I have played well all week and my goal today was to get to even par.

"I think that would have been a very successful tournament and I am very pleased that I have done that."

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"My goal was to reach even par"
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