AUGUSTA -- In most majors, it would have been a dream final-round pairing.
Tiger and Rory.
Rory and Tiger.
One of the game’s greatest players and the possibly the best player of his generation.
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But with Jordan Spieth running away with his first major championship title, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy combined for just any other pairing Sunday at the Masters.
McIlroy shot a 66 on Sunday to match the low round of the day, but he still finished six shots behind Spieth at 12 under. Woods was even further back at 5 under after a 73 on Sunday.
“I thought if I could start fast and shoot 64, it might put some sort of pressure on the guys behind,” McIlroy said. “But I didn’t start that fast and got going in the middle of the round, but even that wouldn’t really matter.
“Jordan just went out and played, it looks like, a really, really solid round of golf.”
McIlroy played well, especially on the weekend. He shot 71-71 in the first two rounds but picked it up to shoot 10 under on the weekend to finish fourth, his best Masters finish.
He had six birdies and no bogeys in the final round.
“I played well. I can take a lot of positives from it,” McIlroy said. “It is my best ever finish here. I did a lot of things I wanted to do. I played the par-5s well. I just left myself too much to do after 27 holes of this golf tournament.”
Woods shot also shot 73 in the first round, but he played well in the middle two rounds with 69-68 after missing the tournament last year. He had not played a competitive round this year since early February, missing the cut at Torrey Pines and withdrawing at Phoenix.
He had three birdies and an eagle Sunday, but those were offset by five bogeys.
“Well, considering where I was at Torrey and Phoenix, to make the complete swing change and rectify all the faults and come here to a major championship and contend, I’m proud of that part of it,” Woods said. “I just wish I could have made a few more timely putts and moved up that board.”