- Bob Harig, Senior Golf Writer
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ATLANTA -- In the five previous years of the FedEx Cup playoffs, surgery or a combination of injury/poor play kept Tiger Woods from the finale in Atlanta three times.
But on the two occasions he did get to East Lake, Woods walked away with the FedEx Cup trophy and a $10 million bonus both times.
The possibility still existed as he teed off in the final round of the Tour Championship on Sunday but quickly evaporated as Woods played the first six holes in 4-over par, including a double-bogey at the sixth.
That left him needing a high finish and some help in order to win the FedEx Cup, neither of which was forthcoming.
Woods shot 2-over-par 72 to finish tied for eighth, 8 strokes behind Brandt Snedeker, who also claimed the FedEx Cup. Rory McIlroy, who was tied for 10th in the tournament, was second in the FedEx Cup, earning a $3 million bonus. Woods finished third, with a $2 million bonus.
It wasn't what he came here for, but Woods took the big-picture view with his official PGA Tour season having come to a conclusion in 2012.
"Coming off the last couple years, it's nice to be where I'm at and to be able to play in these things," Woods said. "I played well pretty much all four playoff events. I had a rough last round at Barclays. But other than that, it was a pretty solid four tournaments.
"Considering where I was at last year, it's nice to be where I'm at now. I was obviously struggling with my health last year, and this year I was able to turn it around and I played some pretty good golf this year, which was good.''
Woods won three times in 19 starts in 2012 and had seven top-five finishes. He earned more than $6.1 million and is second to McIlroy on the money list, although neither golfer is expected to play one of the four official Fall Series events remaining on the schedule.
At East Lake, Woods was hurt by a second-round 73, his highest score at this course since 1998. Although he bounced back with a 67 on Saturday, he was still 4 shots back of Snedeker and Justin Rose starting the final round, and simply lamented his inability to get the ball in play.
After hitting just six fairways Saturday, he hit only five on Sunday and just nine greens in regulation. A solid putting round kept the score from being higher.
"I just didn't have it this weekend," Woods said. "I wasn't sharp. On this golf course, you have to get the ball on the fairway. Even when I had it on the fairway, shots that I would normally hit inside 10, 15 feet were not there.
"More than anything, I think this week my short game was really dialed in. I chipped and putted really well. I need to hit the ball a little better than I hit it certainly this weekend. Hit it great the first day, but after that it just wasn't ever good, especially on the weekend. Just fought hard to get where I was at.''
Woods headed home to Florida on Sunday night and is scheduled to meet his U.S. Ryder Cup teammates late Monday, when all convene outside of Chicago.
A brutal start in the final round of the Tour Championship quickly sank Tiger Woods' hopes of capturing a third FedEx Cup title, writes ESPN.com's Bob Harig.