News24

Tiger ends two-year drought

2011-12-05 07:03

Thousand Oaks - Tiger Woods ended a frustrating victory drought of just over two years when he clinched the Chevron World Challenge which he hosts by one shot on Sunday, holing a six-foot birdie putt at the last.

A stroke behind fellow American Zach Johnson overnight, Woods fired a three-under-par 69 at Sherwood Country Club to claim the 95th tournament win of his career -- but his first since the 2009 Australian Masters.

Woods, whose world ranking plummeted from number one to 52nd while he struggled for fitness and form over the last two years with his private life in tatters, came from one shot behind with two holes to play to post a 10-under total of 278.

He drained a 15-footer at the par-three 17th before coolly knocking in a six-footer on the 18th green and then celebrating with a roundhouse sweep through the air with his right arm.

"It feels great to go basically head-to-head against Zach all day," a jubilant Woods told reporters after his spectacular birdie-birdie finish ended a run of 26 tournaments around the world without victory.

"Zach put a lot of pressure on me. He turned the tide (on 16), next thing I am one down playing the last couple of holes. Then I made two good putts."

Asked to describe his feelings after ending his lengthy title drought, 14-times major champion Woods replied: "It feels awesome, whatever that is.

"I know it's been a while, but also for some reason it feels like it hasn't (been a while) because when I was coming down the stretch there I felt so comfortable.

"Was I nervous? Absolutely. I'm always nervous in that position but it's a comfortable feeling, and I enjoy being in that position," added Woods, who will rise to 21st when the new world rankings are issued on Monday.

Johnson, seeking his first victory since last year's Colonial Invitational, had to settle for second place in his effective head-to-head with Woods after closing with a 71.

Britain's Paul Casey, who opened with a 79 in Thursday's wind-buffeted opening round, signed off with a 69 to secure third place at five under.

SUN-SPLASHED DAY

Johnson held a one-stroke lead at the start of a glorious, sun-splashed autumn day at Sherwood and he preserved that advantage when he and Woods each birdied the par-five second.

However, Johnson then bogeyed the next two holes -- missing the green to the left off the tee at the par-three third and failing to reach the green in two at the par-four fourth -- to slip one stroke behind Woods.

Johnson immediately responded with a battling birdie at the par-five fifth.

Despite ending up above a fairway bunker with his drive and clipping tree branches with his second shot for the ball to advance only 100 yards, he then struck a sizzling approach to five feet and knocked in the putt to draw level with Woods at eight under.

Johnson and Woods both bogeyed the tricky par-three eighth to slip back to seven under before reaching the turn three ahead of the chasing pack.

Woods edged a stroke in front with a birdie at the par-four 10th, where his approach from the right rough ended up within three feet of the cup.

He picked up another shot at the par-five 11th after reaching the green in two, but then bogeyed the par-three 12th where he found the left greenside bunker off the tee.

Johnson again caught Woods with a birdie at the par-five 13th, where he got up and down from just short of the green, and the pair stayed level with three holes to play.

Both players laid up at the par-five 16th and Johnson edged a stroke in front after hitting his approach to 12 feet and calmly rolling in the putt.

Woods immediately countered with his 15-foot birdie putt at the 17th before driving his right fist forward in celebration as the watching gallery roared its approval.

That set up the grandstand finish on 18 where Woods triumphed in style after recording his fifth birdie of the day.

"There were certainly a lot of positives out there today, and I can obviously think of a lot of shots I gave away," Johnson said. "I just came up a little bit short.

"I executed well when I needed to, hit good shots when I needed to, and I putted pretty well for the most part. Overall I'm not disappointed in my performance or my approach. I'm just not overly ecstatic about the outcome."

Reuters

Comments
  • Raeez - 2011-12-05 08:07

    Lyk die man het weer stuk gekry.lol

  • deonk - 2011-12-05 08:10

    Glad he is back... Golf is alot less boring with him around.

      Bob - 2011-12-05 10:11

      deonk, how do you figure that ? his skill has never been in question but the guy has about as much personality as chair leg, walks around with a face like a smacked @rsE, and winning a tournament with only 18 players is not exactly legendary, I maintain he will never win another major and I think the great JN's record of 18 majors will be safe for a long time, maybe forever.

      Len - 2011-12-05 13:55

      I would never bother to watch golf until early hours of the morning if it was the Nedbank Challenge. In fact, I could not be bothered to watch even during the day. I received numerous invitations to go watch 3 of the world’s top 4 ranked golfers, and I still was not interested. I would however come and watch Tiger Woods even if he was ranked outside of the Top 100. So, that is how I figure it out. Lee Westwood won a tournament with 12 players and guess what, Tiger Woods has 14 majors next to his name. That makes him legendary. I remember some saying he would never win again, now it is he will never win a major again. If he does, I expect the goal posts will shift. Thing is, Tiger has far more personality that 99.99% of golfers in the entire world and far moe personality than all the South African golfers combined

      Bob - 2011-12-06 11:37

      Len that is a bit harsh re the South African golfers, Ernie, the Goose and Nick Price are some of the most repected guys in Golf, Worldwide, not to mention the great characters like Hobday and Hutchinson etc etc, I would love an example of Woods personality, I just see a miserable git that looks like he has won the lottery and lost the ticket, we are talking personality here not skill, although the three I mentioned are not lacking in that department either.

      Len - 2011-12-06 23:37

      @Bob. I have no doubt you see what you see of Tiger Woods and I see what I see of South African golfers. Not sure we will ever agree. Tiger Woods has created a lot more buzz around golf, with his fist pumps, excitement he creates on the golf course. It also helps that he wins, but many more before him have won, but hardly generated enough interest to make golf a spectator sport, beyond the boring individuals. Nick Price is not South Africa, by the way. He is Zimbabwean. Thing about personality is that you see what you want to see. I would rather spend an evening or lunch with Tiger than I would with all the South African golfers combined. And, I would challenge you to show me what you consider to be personality when it comes to Ernie Els and Retief Goosen

  • Jerhone - 2011-12-05 08:36

    who cares go get a real job

      Bob - 2011-12-05 10:12

      So why read the article and bother to comment ?

      Dhirshan - 2011-12-05 12:14

      @jerhone - someone needs to give u a bells !!!!

  • don.ruffels - 2011-12-05 08:54

    I agree with deonk - Golf is really golf with Tiger Woods. Well done Tiger happy that your par's, birdie's, eagle"s and perhaps albetrosses are back in your corner. Well come back - you bring "panache' to golf.

  • willie.uys - 2011-12-05 08:59

    Happy for him but it must feel like when we were kids and played games where we made the rules so that we could win. Winning his own competition .... Would be great to see him in contention again next year.

      richard.hipkin - 2011-12-05 09:09

      willie, pray tell how did he makes rules so he could win??? Golf is golf my friend whether he was host or not..

      Len - 2011-12-05 13:47

      He did not make his own rules. the USGA is.

      Shoosh - 2011-12-05 19:30

      @PointBlank @Len please read this if you have not already done so, this should answer your reply to Willie. http://www.sport24.co.za/Golf/Tiger-is-back-to-his-best-20111205

      Len - 2011-12-06 09:32

      @Shoosh. I have read the article and the beginning is nothing more than opinions of the guy. Tiger lives in Florida, and the course is in California. This is about a 4 hour flight. Furthermore, several players like Stricker and Furyk have been regulars at the tournament, with Furyk having won it. The article does not anywhere claim that Tiger created his own rules. He, like the rest of the golfers play according to the USGA rules. All the players have an opportunity to practise on the course for several days. Tiger Woods, like all top golfers play Augusta every year and no one ever claim they have an unfair advantage. Do not mistake the opinion of a writer to facts. Lastly, much of the field is made up of golfers who played in the President's Cup, not people who were handpicked to lie down and fold. The only person I did not expect would be invited was Adam Scott

  • richard.hipkin - 2011-12-05 09:08

    Everyone deserves a second chance, well done Tiger - keep it clean.

  • Tony - 2011-12-05 09:52

    I feel that tournament should NOT carry world ranking points. It was a limited field of 18 players. Did the guys at the Nedbank million dollar tournament at Sun City get points? I think not. The Hong Kong open, which Rory McIlroy won, sure, that counts towards the European order of merit, with points. Exclusive fields, deffinately not. Tiger goes from 52 to 21st, with all the real worthy opponents not playing.

      Len - 2011-12-05 13:45

      There are times when people need to get their facts correct, before commenting. Since 2006, the Nedbank Challenge does carry world ranking points. Please check the Nedbank Golf Challenge website before you respond. http://www.nedbank.co.za/website/content/Sponsorships/golf.asp Tournament do apply for carry ranking points, provided every participant is ranked 50th at the cut-off point. If just one player was not ranked within 50 at the cut-off point, then the tournament would not carry ranking points. This is the reason why the Nedbank challenge has resisted the temptation to include popular South Africans and John Daly. Even when Bjorn withdrew, they would rather get the Italian instead of getting a local whose ranking may have not met the requirements. There are many challenge tournaments around the world and some do not have a cut and still maintain points provided they meet certain requirements. Before you claim that Tiger was ranked 52nd when the tournament started, check this http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/6989352/tiger-woods-holds-49th-spot-official-world-golf-ranking-eligible-chevron-world-challenge

  • deonk - 2011-12-05 11:00

    @Bob please remember your post... write it down on edible paper, it makes it easier to eat your own words. This is the first step in the right direction.

  • phangolicious - 2011-12-05 11:01

    "Good for U Bro" - God be with U as U move towards your best ......

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