Tiger Woods can't overcome poor putting again en route to 1-under 70

Tiger on week: 'You have to make putts' (0:20)

Tiger Woods explains that his driver got back on track this week, but his poor putting cost him a good finish. (0:20)

PARAMUS, N.J. -- Perhaps the best way to sum up Tiger Woods' performance at The Northern Trust is to say that one of his worst 72-hole performances of the year was really not that bad at all.

Woods ended his first FedEx Cup playoff event in five years Sunday at Ridgewood Country Club pretty much the way it began -- unable to explain poor putting and a dearth of birdies while shooting a 1-under-par 70 that left him in a tie for 40th, 14 shots back of winner Bryson DeChambeau.

"Just the way it goes," Woods said. "You have good weeks and you have bad weeks. The greens, sometimes they look good to you. Sometimes they don't. All of my good putts, basically, went in at Bellerive [two weeks ago at the PGA Championship] and the bad putts lipped out.

"This week, the good putts lipped out and the bad ones didn't have a chance. That's the way it goes."

That's probably the best way to look at the situation for Woods, who struggled earlier this year with putting issues and made an equipment change before the Quicken Loans National that resulted in three top-six finishes in five tournaments.

Woods, 42, is unlikely to make a putter switch this week, despite ranking 79th out of the 80 players who made the 36-hole cut in strokes gained putting. Once again, he had numerous opportunities, with nine birdie putts inside of 20 feet -- including three inside 10 feet -- that did not go in.

But for all the putts that did not drop, and despite finishing when the leaders were teeing off Sunday, Woods played the final 36 holes with just a single bogey and made only five for the week. He drove the ball the best he has all year after a tweak to his driver shaft and loft.

For the week, Woods hit 52 of 72 greens and ranked third in strokes gained, approach to the green. He was 18th in strokes gained off the tee, including fourth on Sunday.

And Woods would much rather be dealing with putting issues than ballstriking problems as he heads into the second FedEx playoff event, the Dell Technologies Championship, which begins Friday at TPC Boston.

Two weeks ago, Woods missed every fairway on the front nine at Bellerive and hit just five during the final round yet still shot 64. The feeling remains that shooting low scores is not sustainable when he is off the fairway so often, and Woods made adjustments to his driver -- changing shafts and going from 8.5 degrees to 9.5 degrees -- and immediately saw improved accuracy.

"I played a lot better than my score indicates," he said. "I didn't make any birdies this week [nine total]. I didn't putt well, and at the end of the day, I found a piece of my game that has been missing, which is driving it well. But you have to make putts. That's the only way we're going to shoot low rounds. I didn't do it this week."

In 15 tournaments in 2018, Woods has missed two cuts, and this was his second-worst 72-hole finish, surpassed only by a tie for 55th at the Wells Fargo Championship in May. It was the fourth time he finished outside the top 30 against five top-10 finishes.

After starting the week 20th in the FedEx Cup standings, Woods will drop to 25th in the standings. He is scheduled to play beginning Friday at the Dell Technologies and then the following week at the BMW Championship, where the top 70 qualify.

To make his first Tour Championship appearance in five years, Woods will need to be among the top 30 after the BMW Championship.