GULLANE, SCOTLAND // For Tiger Woods, the long wait for a 15th major title win goes on and on, but he believes he could end his drought at next month's US PGA Championship.
The world No 1 started Sunday's final round of the British Open at Muirfield perfectly placed in a tie for second, just two shots behind leader Lee Westwood.
He had looked confident and threatening during Saturday's third round and there was no sign of the left elbow injury that dogged him at last month's US Open.
On Sunday he was looking to do something he had never done before – win a major championship while trailing going into the final round.
He never looked like getting that monkey off his back.
Woods dropped a shot at the opening hole and by the time he reached the turn in 38, he had already slipped down the leaderboard.
There was still time to turn the tide as players struggled to make birdies in the tough conditions, but bogeys at 10 and 11 virtually doomed his hopes as old rival Phil Mickelson sped past him to win his first Open.
It was all to do with the speed of he greens, he said.
"I had a hard time adjusting to the speeds. They were much slower today, much softer," he said.
"I really had a hard time and left myself a couple of long putts early on when it was really blowing, and left them way short and didn't make those putts.
"I didn't really play that poorly. I hit a couple of bad shots at 10, 11, that was about it and at 3. But other than that I really hit the ball well today. I just couldn't ever get the pace of these things."
Woods has now gone 17 major tournaments without a win, his last coming at the 2008 Torrey Pines US Open – 18 months before his life was turned upside down by a sex scandal that wrecked his marriage and sullied his reputation.
Injuries and enforced swing changes followed that episode, although he has bounced back this year with four tournament wins to regain the world number one spot.
Still success in the majors, which he craves most in order to close the gap on the all-time record of 18 wins set by Jack Nicklaus, has eluded him, and his failure to convert from a good position at Muirfield will raise further question marks over his abilities.
Woods though feels that he is in with a good chance at next month's PGA Championship, which is being held at Oak Hill, Rochester, a course he knows well.
"I've won 14 [majors] and in that spell where I haven't won since Torrey, I've been in there.
"It's not like I've lost my card and not playing out here. So I've won some tournaments in that stretch and I've been in probably about half the majors on the back nine on Sunday with a chance to win during that stretch.
"I just haven't done it yet. And hopefully it will be in a few weeks."
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