GREENSBORO, N.C. — A two-year run of poor play ended Sunday for Tiger Woods with another injury issue, although he declined to give any detail and managed to birdie four of his last six holes at the Wyndham Championship.
Woods fell out of contention on the 11th hole, where he clutched his back after his tee shot and struggled to a triple-bogey 7. He also hit a poor tee shot at the 12th hole, leading to another bogey.
Asked afterward if his back — on which he had surgery in March 2014 — was bothering him, Woods said, “It’s not my back, no.”
When pressed, Woods said, “Just my hip.” He didn’t say which hip and did not suggest it got better during the rest of the round.
It was a disappointing end to what had been an encouraging tournament for Woods, who shared the 36-hole lead and trailed Jason Gore by just 2 strokes entering the final round. He was still just three shots back at the 11th when his woes began, as he missed the green to the left, then hit two horrible chip shots — one a skulled shank that screamed across the green.
“I pulled my tee shot just a touch,” Woods explained. “Hit a 5-iron from the rough, hit it high on the face left. A blade and a muffed chip. Putt too hard, and then I pulled the putt [for 6] and made the 7th [shot], which was solid, right in the middle of the hole.”
Woods was smiling at this point, but the damage was done. He fought back with three straight birdies on holes 13-15 and also made a birdie at the last for an even-par score of 70 and a tie for 10th, his best finish of the year. He ended up four strokes back of winner Davis Love III, 51, who became the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history.
For Woods, 39, his 2014-15 season came to an end since he is not eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs, finishing in 178th position. Only the top 125 players qualify for the playoffs.
Last year, Woods had surgery for a disk issue in his back. He missed three months, returned for four tournaments and then took another lengthy leave when problems surfaced again.
Woods played two events early this year but withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open after just 11 holes when his back stiffened up after a delay. Due to chipping woes at the time, he didn’t return for nine weeks, tying for 17th at the Masters — his previous best finish this year.
In 11 tournaments, Woods missed four cuts and withdrew once. He had three top-20 finishes, including Sunday.
He is unlikely to play again until the Frys.com Open in October, the start of the 2015-16 season.
“This is my offseason right now,” Woods said. “It will be nice. I got lots of soccer games and practices to go to, so I’ll be doing that and just working out, training and trying to get more fit.”