PEBBLE BEACH -- Through six holes Sunday at Pebble Beach, Tiger Woods had people doubting if he wanted to be there. If the achy back he mentioned Saturday could hold up when it's not 75 and humid.
There he was, walking off the sixth green after tapping in for the fourth bogey in his first six holes. He looked like he would rather be anywhere else than at a course he toyed with half a lifetime ago.
But Woods, who couldn't get anything going all week, finally gave the crowd something to cheer about.
In his patented Sunday red and black, Woods poured in a 13-foot birdie putt at No. 7. He followed it with a birdie at No. 8 to make the turn at 2-over for the day and the championship.
After making four straight pars, Woods drained a 42-foot putt for birdie on No. 13, and then he stuck his approach shot on No. 14 to five feet for another birdie.
He was back to even, but the birdie train wasn't done.
Woods added another birdie to his scorecard at No. 16 after he laced a 7 iron to five feet. Then, he punctuated his back-nine flurry by sticking his approach on 18 inside four feet. He sank the birdie to putt to finish the tournament at 2-under-par after playing his final 12 holes in 6-under. It was his best U.S. Open score in 10 years.
"I wish I would have known because I would have turned it around a little earlier than that," Woods said after his round Sunday. "Again, got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off. Turned back around and got it to under par for the week which is -- normally it's a good thing, but this week the guys are definitely taking to it."
After winning The Masters in April, the 43-year-old only has played three times since, and he won't tee it up again until The British Open next month at Royal Portrush.
When asked if he thought he was still capable of going on major runs as he did in the early 2000s, Woods noted it's all about managing everything not just how he feels physically.
"As I said, it depends on what -- you've got to figure out what works best for you," Woods said. "Mr. Hogan figured out what worked best for him. Jack figured out what worked best for himself. And it's about a 72-hole grind. It's a long grind and trying to manage yourself over those 72 holes, trying to miss the ball in the correct spots. It all adds up. It's not just a hot streak here and there. It's about doing the right things mentally as well as physically."
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It was a grind of a week for Woods. He never was able to get anything going on Pebble's scoring holes (Nos. 1-7) and never was a factor in the championship.
There was no 2000-esque romp to be had. No 2010-like top 10 to be found.
The next time Pebble Beach hosts the U.S. Open will be in 2027. Woods will be on the other side of 50. Maybe he'll be able to contend then. Maybe he won't.
There's no telling what eight years will bring to any of us, let alone a guy who's had four major back surgeries. Time has its own plan.
So if Sunday was Woods' final major moment at Pebble Beach, he made sure the Tiger roars echoed across Stillwater Cove one last time.