ST. ANDREWS, Scotland - It was different for Tiger Woods. The old buildings along the 18th fairway were the same. The cheering from the fans wedged along the railing and peering from open windows was the same. But this time on a Sunday at St. Andrews, he wasn't walking toward a trophy.
The victories of 2000 and 2005, the last two times the British Open had been held on the Old Course, seemed as far away as the distant coastline along the North Sea. This time, the Open Championship belonged to someone else, to a South African, Louis Oosthuizen.
Woods went back to his old Scotty Cameron putter Sunday, the one that after 11 years he had forsaken for this 139th Open, trying a Nike Method because he thought the Nike would be more effective on the rolling, tortuous greens. It turned out, neither was effective.
"I drove it great all week,'' Woods said. "Hit my irons good and did not putt well except the first day. I believe I had nine three-putts for the week . . . You just can't expect to win golf tournaments if you have nine of 10 three-putts for a week. No one can do that.''
Nor, if as he did in the final round, leave a ball in a bunker on the fourth hole, resulting in the first of two double bogeys (the other was at No. 7, a three-putt), jarring reality that halted momentum picked up after birdies on Nos. 1 and 3.
Woods managed an even-par 72, for a 3-under total, 13 shots behind Oosthuizen, and a tie for 23rd place. Woods has gone winless in the last seven majors he entered, including three this year played at some of his favorite courses: Augusta National, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.
"I just felt my speed was off,'' Woods explained about swapping putters, "and I was just going back to something where I know how [the ball] comes off.''
Woods said he didn't feel anchored in the wind on the long putts, which are standard at St. Andrews. Asked the last time he made "significant alterations'' to his putting stroke, he said, "Never.''
When someone wondered if he missed an opportunity at a course he overpowered the last two Opens, he said: "That's just the way it goes. I'm not going to win them all. I've lost more than I've won.''