Abu Dhabi: Tiger Woods congratulated the 2012 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Champion Robert Rock, but was left to rue his own final day's even-par slump to finish two shots off the top — tied for third with Graeme McDowell and Thomas Bjorn.
Having shared a joint lead with Rock coming into the last round on 11 under par 205 (70,69,66), Woods did exactly what he said he would try to avoid on the end of day three and allowed others to creep by after finishing his fourth round at level par 72 on a total of 277.
Woods said: "Robert played great today. He was solid, consistent, he didn't do anything wrong. He was in play, made a couple of key up and downs here and there, but overall just kept the ball right in front of him. He did hit a couple of beautiful iron shots down the stretch and made a couple of key putts to extend the lead. He never gave up.
"Today was a day where I had a chance, and Robert just played real solid all day. He didn't do anything wrong today and he hit a couple of key iron shots on the back nine to give himself two goods looks and he made them."
Adding of his own game: "I was right there with a chance and just didn't get it done today. I misjudged the wind two times and hit two bad pitches right in a row, two holes back-to-back (bogeying holes four and five). I think the turning point for me was at 10 today, because I had just birdied nine to cut it and I hit the most beautiful little wedge in there into ten, and I don't know how it did what it did because from our view, it looked pretty good. It looked like it was going to be a kick in. Next thing you know, I'm making bogey. So it was a big turnaround there and I never closed the gap after that.
"I hit the ball beautifully the whole week, but today there were a few surprises out there. I hit a couple of three woods that went 320 yards and that's something I don't normally do. So I've got to figure that out because even with adrenaline the ball was just going further today.