PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.
Woods ended up tied for 11th at 277 along with Koepka, Australia's Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, England's Ian Poulter and Chesson Hadley, from Raleigh like Simpson.
The 14-time major champion hit eight birdies in his first 12 holes Saturday, carding his best ever score at TPC Sawgrass, and he briefly got to within striking distance of eventual victor Webb Simpson by the 12th hole on Sunday.
It was a reasonable week for Europeans Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter, who finished tied for seventh and 11th respectively, although I really don't know what to say about Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy. "Unfortunately (I) just didn't cash in", Woods, who had been in contention in the final round in four of his eight starts this year, said. For the first time all week, he lost strokes to the field from tee to green. He would make his final putt and receive a butt pat from his caddy who has helped turn Simpson's career around. "It's weird; not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot 3-under par is just weird, because I played much better than that", Woods said.
Woods would stall later in the round, dropping three shots.
He steadily climbed the leaderboard with birdies at the second, third, fourth and ninth holes.
A missed birdie putt on the 10th stalled his momentum, and despite back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12, he struggled on the last few holes.
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From that point on, Simpson found enough of a groove to steady the ship to victory. Simpson hit away from the flag, and his wedge shot settled safely in the middle of the green.
"You're not sure if it's just because it landed close but then the roars kept going so we figured it went in". Left it short and hit a good putt.
The 14th hole had been somewhat of a nemesis for Woods this week, and it did him no favours on Sunday.
Lee went into the water on 16 as well, with the shots in to the drink costing him second and a prize worth US$821,333 (NZ$1,179,126). He bogeyed the hole on Saturday. "I told him, 'Pretty inconsistent.' He asked me had I ever tried the claw grip, and I said no".
Still, he hasn't played very well at this track over the course of his career and it seemed important for him to jump-start the second half of his season with something on the weekend. I had to draw it from the water. And then, when he made birdies at 11 and 12 to get to 14-under. "It was unlucky there".
"This weekend was more like it", Woods said. Johnson had held the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking since February 19, 2017.
"I played so well this weekend; unfortunately, I just didn't cash in", said Woods, who finished tied for 11th, seven shots behind eventual victor Simpson.
Woods, who began the week ranked 92nd in the world, will move up to 80th.