San Francisco - The long wait goes on for Tiger Woods. It has been four years since he won his last major and there are few signs the next one is coming up any time soon.
But the former world number one remains upbeat his prospect of ending the drought.
He had a spring in his step when he came into this week's US Open after winning The Memorial, then charged into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after rounds of 69 and 70 at the difficult par-70 Olympic Club course.
On the weekend, when the suffocating pressure of the majors is at its most intense, he was unable to reproduce his best and tumbled down the leaderboard, shooting a 75 on Saturday then 73 on Sunday.
“I hit the ball very well the first two days,” Woods told reporters.
“I was just a fraction off, just a couple yards here and there and that's all it takes.”
“I had so many balls that landed in the fairway that went into the rough.”
Needing to shooting a low score to have any chance of winning the tournament after starting the final round five shots off the lead, his chances evaporated on the first six holes, one of the hardest stretches in golf, when he made four bogeys and a double.
He played the remaining 12 holes in three-under but was too far behind to mount a challenge and finished at seven-over par, his worst result at the US Open since he missed the cut in 2006.
“Unfortunately, I just got off to such an awful start,” he said. “I tried coming in, but I was too far out.”
Woods won the last of his 14 majors at the 2008 US Open and has battled problems on and off the course since 2009, when the sordid details of his private life became public.
The golf world has been waiting patiently for him to resume his chase of Jack Nicklaus's record 18 majors.
Despite his latest setback, the American was unfazed, saying he was hitting the ball well but the treacherous Olympic Club layout had punished his tiny errors.
“I'm excited about the consistency of it. How well I hit the ball all week,” he said.
“I didn't really miss it that badly this week. The misses were just a fraction off, which is great.
“That's what we want to have happen. This golf course is just so demanding that a fraction off you pay a price.” - Reuters