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Last Updated:  Monday, 14 April, 2003, 00:37 GMT 01:37 UK
Woods misses milestone
Tiger Woods at Augusta on Sunday
The moment when the wheels came off Tiger's challenge
Tiger Woods' bid for an unprecedented third straight US Masters title fizzled out in disappointing fashion at Augusta on Sunday.

An error-strewn final round of 75 saw the eight-time Major champion slide from joint fifth overnight to a tie for 15th at two over par.

"You can't have everything," a rueful Woods said. "That's our sport. It's not easy. No-one has ever done it."

The world number one started the final round ominously when he birdied the second to go within three shots of the lead.

But an uncharacteristically sloppy double bogey at the third put the brakes on his charge.

Woods then completely lost the momentum he had picked up with his 66 on Saturday when he added further bogeys at the fourth, seventh and eighth holes.

A birdie at the ninth, bringing the 27-year-old American back to two over par, offered some hope.

But there were no heroics on the inward nine and he eventually finished nine shots behind Mike Weir and Len Mattiace, the men who played off for the title.

Woods had gone into Sunday's round as only the third man, after Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo, to have a chance of a hat-trick of victories at Augusta National.

Nicklaus missed the cut by a shot in 1967 after winning the previous two years, while Faldo finished joint 12th in 1991, after winning back-to-back play-offs in 1989-90.

Woods had been 11 shots off the lead at the halfway stage on Saturday morning, saving par from a greenside bunker on the final hole of his second round to make the cut on five over par.

I got off to an ideal start, one under through two, but I made a mental blunder on three and that cost me
Tiger Woods

Six birdies later and Woods was on the leaderboard and poised to complete possibly the greatest comeback ever.

And it all seemed to be going to plan in the early stages of the final round until he decided to take his driver on the 350-yard par-four third hole.

One wayward drive later and Woods was in the trees to the right of the hole, fortunate to find his ball lying next to a bush.

But he was unable to take a normal stance and had to play the shot left-handed, turning round the face of a pitching wedge and punching the ball out just short of the green.

What happened next, however, was remarkable for a player as brilliant as Woods.

First he mishit a simple chip across the green, and then he left his attempt to get back on the putting surface on the bank at the rear of the green.

Tiger is allowed to shoot 73 once in a while
Jim Furyk

Two putts later and Woods had a double bogey six. And when he three-putted the next as well for a bogey, he was two over for his round and out of the tournament.

Woods later admitted his decision to try and drive the green on the third was a costly mistake.

"I got off to an ideal start, one under through two, but I made a mental blunder on three and that cost me," he said.

"It was a bad decision. I wanted to hit an iron but Steve [Williams, his caddie] said it was a better play from down below [nearer the green].

"I went with it but ultimately it's the player's call so I made the wrong decision."

So for all of his historic feats, Woods has still never won a Major when not leading or sharing the lead after 54 holes.

"I guess you expect him to come back," fourth-placed Jim Furyk said. "(But) he is allowed to shoot 73 once in a while."





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