by Jeff Skinner
There aren’t any words left to describe what Tiger Woods continues to do on the golf course. The dictionaries are packed with adjectives and superlatives that all have been used to describe Woods and his accomplishments. Unbelievable, awesome, great, incredible, astonishing…take your pick and apply any others you like. Woods is better than that. Each week he amazes us with his skill, creativity, focus and determination to show that he is the best golfer alive.
At the Bridgestone Invitational Woods came out with guns blazing as he opened with a 30 on his front nine. The best Padraig Harrington could do was par on the front and Woods took the lead at the fourth hole when his birdie put him at -11. Tiger had his putter working as he made birdie putts of thirteen, twenty seven and seven feet to go along with his eagle on two from twenty four feet. Harrington finally got his first and only birdie on eleven. When Tiger stumbled with bogeys on thirteen and fourteen, Paddy was back in the lead by one. What had turned into a match play between Tiger and Paddy ended on sixteen, the 667 yard par five. Woods drove into the left rough but was undeterred and played to the fairway leaving him a third shot of 181 yards to the tucked pin. He then hit another classic Tiger shot. He pumps an eight iron a little past the hole and draws it back to one foot from the cup. His birdie put him to eleven under. That was the easy part. The hard part was watching Harrington take an eight on the same hole. Harrington’s third shot landed in thick rough behind the green. His fourth shot flew the green and landed in the pond. He was done. His valiant effort for the week nullified with a triple bogey that cost him the tournament. The two major champions always seem to take their time on the course and Sunday was no different. There were timed all day and put on the clock at the sixteenth. That would have been something to see; Woods and Harrington getting penalized for slow play. Could that have taken Harrington off his game? He said afterward that he rushed his second shot and didn’t hit a good shot. In typical Tiger fashion he went on to birdie eighteen and finish at -12 twelve, four shots clear of Harrington and Robert Allenby.
Tiger has now won 70 PGA tournaments in his career. He needs three to catch Nicklaus and twelve to catch all time leader Sam Snead. There are thirteen PGA tournaments left in the season, including the Fall Series. The way Tiger is playing he could probably break Snead’s record this year if he wished.
One thing is for sure. As long as the tour plays at Firestone, Tiger will be there. Tiger absolutely owns Firestone. This is his seventh win at the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone. He is the only player ever to win a stroke-play event seven times at the same golf course. There are certain courses on the PGA Tour that Woods thrives on. He has six wins at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines and he has six wins at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Over three courses Woods has nineteen wins. Nineteen of his 70 wins on just three courses…heck, Woods could break Snead’s record if he just played these three courses for the next few years. Compare that to the combined total of the number three, four and five players in the world. Paul Casey has one PGA win, Kenny Perry has fourteen and Sergio Garcia has seven. That’s twenty two combined PGA Tour wins for their careers. Woods has nineteen wins on three courses. Amazing, stupendous, unbelievable, insert whatever adjective you wish. He is that good