JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Masters champion Adam Scott didn’t think his good round was good enough Sunday at The Barclays.
His caddie had already packed his golf clubs into a travel case. He viewed his visit to the CBS Sports tower as nothing more than a courtesy. His only hope was that the other players still on the course — Tiger Woods and Justin Rose among them — might find it as difficult to close out a victory as Scott has over the years.
“I’m pretty shocked,” Scott said after his 5-under 66 gave him a one-shot win at Liberty National over four players, including Canada’s Graham DeLaet. “There were so many guys out there with a chance and I really didn’t think I had much of a chance. If you hang around the lead long enough, you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. And this one went my way.”
Scott was watching from the locker room when Rose, who had a 25-foot putt for the outright lead, ran it 5 feet by the hole and three-putted for bogey.
Clubs unpacked, Scott was on his way to the range when the groans from around the 18th green told him Woods narrowly missed his 25-foot birdie putt from off the back of the green to tie for the lead. Once on the range, a large video board showed Gary Woodland miss his third straight birdie putt from inside 10 feet.
“I guess it’s different playing an hour-and-a-half in front of the leaders, the guys who have been under pressure all day than when you’re out there,” Scott said. “I know how they feel. When the pressure is on you to close out, it’s much harder, and the holes become much harder and shots are far more crucial.
“I feel like I’ve been given a bit of a gift,” he said. “But I’ll take it.”
Scott finished at 11-under 273 and moved to a career-best No. 2 in the world.
Woods suffered a back spasm on the par-5 13th hole and hooked a fairway metal so far left that it landed in a swamp on the other side of the 15th fairway. Woods dropped to all fours in pain before slowly getting up. He also dropped a shot on the 15th, and then gamely fought back with birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to get within one.
His birdie putt from off the 18th green was one short turn of falling.
“Thought I made it,” Woods said after his 69.
Woods had all four rounds in the 60s for the first time in a year on the PGA Tour, though it wasn’t enough. He battled stiffness in his lower back all week, which he attributed to a soft bed in his hotel room — the second straight year he has had back issues from a mattress at this event.
In a brief interview with CBS Sports, he said it was “hypothetical” when asked if he would compete in the Deutsche Bank Championship, the next playoff event that starts Friday on the TPC Boston. The tournament gives its charity money to Woods’ foundation. Woods already missed the AT&T National this year, which also benefits his foundation.
“I just got off and I’m not feeling my best right now,” he said.
Rose wasn’t feeling that great, either. He was in position to win the tournament with a birdie putt, and the U.S. Open champion did not want to leave it short. Instead, he knocked it by farther than he imagined, the ball stayed on the high side of the cup the whole way.
“I got too aggressive,” said Rose, who closed with a 68. “I thought it was a putt to win the tournament. It’s tough to take.”
Kevin Chappell had a two-shot lead after a birdie on the 10th hole, but then played the next seven holes in 7-over par and closed with a 76. Woodland had a 73. Matt Kuchar, who shared the 54-hole lead with Woodland, fell back with a triple bogey on No. 9. His only birdie was on the 18th hole, and it gave him a 78.
It was the second time Woods has missed a playoff by one shot at Liberty National.
DeLaet, of Weyburn, Sask., whose 65 matched Phil Mickelson for the low score of the final round, will move up to No. 9 in the Presidents Cup standings.
With one week before qualifying ends, he’s in good shape to make the International team.
Scott won for the second time this year, and at least put himself into the conversation for PGA Tour player of the year if he were to go on to win the FedEx Cup. He is No. 2 in the standings behind Woods, though the $10 million prize does not come into view until the Tour Championship.