AUGUSTA, Ga. - Bobby Jones can rest in peace.
The Grand Slam remains his alone at least for another year.
All the hubbub of Tiger Woods winning the year's four majors ceased Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club, the golfing masterpiece Jones himself built.
Woods, the world's top-ranked player, entered the Masters Tournament as the prohibitive favorite.
Who was going to stop him?
Woods won three of four PGA Tour events he entered earlier this year. The other event, he placed fifth.
Talk of winning the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship began in early January before Woods teed up his first shot. On his Web site, Woods said the feat was within reason.
Tiger Woods celebrated his 70-foot birdie putt on the 11th green during the final round of the Masters. At that point, it looked like Tiger could make a charge. But he wound up three strokes behind the winner.
The media created a snowball which led to one big Grand Slam avalanche.
"I learned my lesson there with the press," Woods joked.
Woods couldn't make a putt Sunday, at least one that mattered. A faulty putter led to a final round even-par 72. He fell three shots short of champion Trevor Immelman.
After a third-round 68 put him within arm's reach of the lead, Woods found himself back in the tournament. He entered Sunday six shots off the pace, but buzz of a possible comeback wafted throughout the course.
Woods, though, did what he's done every time he's trailed after 54 holes in a major tournament.
That Woods didn't slip his arms into a fifth green jacket is a story in itself. After winning the 2005 Masters, he now has finished tied for third, tied for second and now solo second.
Woods blamed his putter, and for good reason. He missed a short par putt at No. 4. He whiffed a short birdie putt at No. 13. He three-putted at No. 14.
All told, Woods used 30 putts in the final round, 120 for the week - eight more putts than Immelman.
"I kept dragging the blade," he said. "I wasn't releasing it.
"I've tried to release it, tried to get it going. I've tried to hook my putts, trying to do anything to get my putts rolling properly. I just didn't quite have it this week."
Woods couldn't find his groove on the par-5s, either, holes he's blistered in the past. He entered 93-under-par on the par-5s in 13 previous Masters.
This year, he finished 4-under. And Woods couldn't use his length to make up any ground on the par-5s in the final round.
At No. 2, he dumped his second shot into the front bunker guarding the pin. He settled for par.
At No. 8, his pitch shot checked up short. Two-putt par.
At No. 13, after driving into trees and laying up, Woods wedged his third shot to four feet for birdie. Another miss.
At No. 15, Woods failed to get up and down from just off the green for birdie.
Four chances. Four pars.
"With these conditions," he said, "you just have to play them under par each day."
He failed to do that.
But Woods being Woods, he delivered one of his famous here-I-come-again moments after rolling in a 50-foot birdie putt from the front of No. 11 green - the hardest hole on the course - to the back pin location. Finally, a Tiger roar.
"He still has a dramatic flair and he tapped in on 11," playing partner Stewart Cink joked. "You really thought, 'Gosh, he's going to birdie every hole from here on out,' but he didn't. That's the way Augusta National is, and he hit a lot of good shots but good shots don't always end up in really close territory."
The first round of the U.S Open begins in 67 days at Torrey Pines in San Diego. There, Woods will try to kick-start Tiger Slam II.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.