Tiger Woods was in philosophical mood after extending his unwanted record of never having come from behind to win a Major.
The world number one, who led going into the final round of all his eight Major titles, enjoyed another good outward nine on Sunday but lost his touch with the putter to finish with a level-par 71.
A bogey on the 17th forced Woods to settle for a share of fourth place, two shots behind surprise winner Ben Curtis.
"I hit some great shots and a couple of poor ones but they weren't that bad," he reflected later. "I just didn't make any putts on the back nine.
"The putts I needed to keep the momentum going or to start some momentum just didn't fall. But that's golf.
"I hit some good shots this week and made
some really good putts, which obviously didn't go in but I did hit them well.
"And I got some terrible bounces and also got some great bounces too so it all evens out at the end."
Woods paid tribute to Curtis, who became the first player to win the Open at the first attempt since Tom Watson in 1975.
"It is pretty remarkable," he said. "You don't generally find anyone playing their first Open is able to contend, let alone actually win.
"But anyone who is playing well can win any tournament in the world and he has displayed that today."
After starting the day at one over par, two off the pace, Woods moved into contention with birdies at the fourth, fifth and seventh holes.
But he was unable to sustain a victory charge.
He missed a five-foot par putt on the eighth green and failed to get up and down on the 10th after finding heavy rough with his second shot.
A birdie chance went begging on the 12th and although he birdied the long 14th, a misjudged approach to the next cost him his third bogey of the day.
Another missed opportunity at the 16th was compounded by his failure to find the green in two on the 17th, costing another shot.
That left Woods needing an unlikely eagle at the last, which proved an insurmountable task even for the world's greatest player.
It means that unless Woods wins the USPGA Championship next month, he will finish a year Major-less for the first time since 1998.