Despite not having his best game on the Sunday of the Masters and finishing five shots back, Tiger Woods summed up his week at Augusta as "pretty cool" and said the only criticism he heard was for using bad language on the course.
The Masters marked Woods' first tournament after a highly publicized sex scandal shattered his image and caused him to take a leave from the sport, but his game remained intact for three rounds until the putts stopped falling. Woods shot 68-70-70-69 to finish tied for fourth. Phil Mickelson won his third green jacket at 16-under 272.
"I have to say it felt great to return to competition at the Masters Tournament. To actually contend in a major on the back nine Sunday and tie for fourth with very little preparation, with all that has transpired in my life, was pretty cool," Woods noted on TigerWoods.com.
"It also felt great to be in the hunt again, but unfortunately, I didn't have my game. I knew I needed to make a run, but I just didn't have one in me. I had a terrible warm-up session Sunday, and it carried over to the first tee."
Woods admitted he was nervous about the reaction he would receive from spectators when he played his first practice round at Augusta, but the fans' reception was warm and applause grew throughout the week.
"I honestly didn't know what to expect from the fans, but they were absolutely incredible from Monday through Sunday," Woods said on his blog. "It was unreal. They definitely helped me mentally to be more comfortable out there. I was hoping for the best. To get that type of warmth is something I did not expect and will never forget."
Woods has said he intends to try to interact more with the fans. At one point at Augusta, he wrote, a young girl handed him a letter on the third tee. He also is trying to curb his temper and known use of foul language when he sours on his game.
"I received some criticism for bad language, which I apologized for immediately after Saturday's round," Woods said on his blog. "It's tough when you're in a competitive environment and in the flow of a tournament. I'm not perfect. All I can say is I'm trying to do everything I can without losing my fire and competitive spirit."
Earlier this week, Woods added The Players Championship and the AT&T National, which benefits his foundation, to his 2010 tournament schedule. He also will play the Quail Hollow Championship in North Carolina beginning April 29.
"The PGA Tour asked me to commit earlier if I could to help the tournaments with their planning and security. I completely understand and know they're trying to help out me and the other players," Woods said on his blog. "Whenever possible, I will continue to do this going forward."
Among Woods' other blog musings:
• "Before I stop talking about the Masters, I want to congratulate Phil Mickelson on the win and for all it means to him, Amy [Mickelson's wife] and the entire Mickelson family. They have really gone through a lot this year, and I wish them good health from now on."
• "I also heard that the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach this year will be televised in prime time on the weekend. I think the last time NBC did it was at Torrey Pines in 2008, and the ratings were pretty good. The only time we can be on prime time is when the tournament is held on the West Coast, so we might as well take advantage of it. I think it's great for golf."