AUGUSTA • Tiger Woods closed out his Masters return with a three-under 69 on Sunday that included a near-ace and his first eagle of the week, but was foiled in his bid to finish under par.
"I drove it on a string today," said Woods, whose closing bogey left him at one-over 289 and a top-32 finish for the tournament.
"Today would have been one of those low rounds. I certainly had the opportunity to do it. I was close to really, really getting it rolling. All in all, it was a bittersweet ending."
Woods went into the final round four over and said the poor iron play he struggled with all week doomed his effort to get to even par, or possibly under par.
But the 14-time Major champion said it was a joy to be back on the course after debilitating back trouble prevented him from playing in 2016 and 2017.
"I thoroughly missed it," Woods said. "I missed playing Major championships. This was great to be back, to be able to play in a Major again to have an opportunity to win the title at the beginning of the week. Obviously it didn't pan out."
Woods came in amid high expectations, fuelled by top-five finishes in two tune-up events.
But a first-round 73 followed by a 75 spelled the end of any hopes that he would contend on the weekend.
The American, who said in January that the first phase of his comeback was all pointing towards Augusta, has not outlined his plans for the rest of the season.
"Generally after this tournament I put away the clubs for a while," said Woods.
"I'm going to take a little break for sure. Go back to the gym, work on some things, try to get a little more fit."
But Woods, 42, added that "things are progressing" in his latest return from injury.
"It was a little bit disappointing I didn't hit my irons as well as I needed to for this particular week. You miss it just a touch here, it gets magnified," he said.
"But overall I'm five or six tournaments into it, to be able to compete out here and to score like I did, it feels good."