Robert Rock beats Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods to win Abu Dhabi Championship
It was the second career victory for Rock, a 34-year-old Englishman in his 10th year on the European Tour who also won last year's Italian Open. Rock, who started the day tied for the lead with Woods at 11 under, hit his drive on the par-5 18th into a hazard but salvaged bogey to shoot 70 and finish 13 under, one shot ahead of Rory McIlroy.
Woods had three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine and started the back nine with a bogey on the par-5 10th. From there, Woods made nothing but pars, shooting even-par 72 to tie for third with Graeme McDowell and Thomas Bjorn at 11 under.
All week, Woods had been in control of his long game, but he hit just one fairway on the back nine on Sunday and only six greens in regulation for the day.
Woods won his own event, the limited-field Chevron World Challenge, in December, but he hasn't had a full-field victory since November of 2009, when he won the Australian Masters.
After the tournament, Woods said some of his distances were off in the final round, but overall he sounded optimistic about his game.
"I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far," he said. "Since Australia, my stroke play events I’ve been doing pretty good. I just need to keep building, keep getting more consistent. Today was a day I putted beautifully, I just didn’t give myself enough looks."
Rock sounded a bit overwhelmed by his accomplishment.
"I was just very happy to be playing Tiger Woods today, and that’s a special honor in itself," Rock said. "It’s been a steady progression from when I finished work in the golf shops, and I worked hard at my game, but I didn’t think this would happen."
Photo: Paul Childs/Zuma Press