Tiger wins Jack's Memorial

2012-06-04 06:59

Dublin - With golf icon Jack Nicklaus watching in amazement, Tiger Woods added another epic shot and tension-packed victory to his own legendary career Sunday by winning the Memorial for his 73rd pro title.

Woods won for only the second time since his infamous sex scandal erupted in November 2009 after chipping in for birdie from dense rough 48 feet from the cup at the par-3 16th hole at the Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village course.

That pulled Woods level for the lead and the 36-year-old American won his fifth Memorial crown when South African Rory Sabbatini made bogey at 16 and Woods closed with a birdie.

Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 major titles won by Nicklaus, caught Nicklaus for second on the all-time US PGA win list, each of them now nine back of Sam Snead's record 82 career triumphs.

"To be able to tie Jack at 73 wins and to do it at such a young age, it feels really special," Woods said. "And to do it with Jack there at 18, he means a lot to all us players. He's the greatest champion that ever lived.

"And to pull off that shot at 16, that was kind of sweet, too."

Matching the shots that were commonplace for Woods a decade ago but have been rare in the past two injury-nagged seasons, Woods blasted the ball from the rough, plopped it just onto the green and watched it roll into the cup.

"It was one of the hardest ones I've pulled off," Woods said. "More magic than memory, I think."

Woods, who had felt ill and feverish entering the weekend, knew that he risked sending the ball into a water hazard on the far side of the green if he botched the shot.

"The shot was really difficult, but it wouldn't have been so bad if I had a good lie," Woods said.

"I went for it. I pulled it off and for it to land as soft as it did was kind of a surprise. It just fell in. I didn't think it was going to get there at one point. And then it fell in."

The last-roll aspect of the shot brought back memories of an epic putt at the 16th hole at Augusta National when Woods used a slope to send a putt into the cup, the ball hanging on the edge of the hole just before dropping in.

"What a shot," Nicklaus said. "I don't think under the circumstances I have ever seen a better shot.

"Tiger has been struggling. He found himself in a position where it was either fish or cut bait. He had one place to land the ball. If he leaves it short, he's going to leave himself again a very difficult shot. If he hits it long, he's going to probably lose the tournament. He lands the ball exactly where it has to land. Going in the hole was a bonus."

In his final tuneup event for the US Open in two weeks at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Woods showed his game was in fine form.

"Just every shot was exactly the shape, the trajectory, the distance control -- I had it all today, shape off tees, whatever club I wanted to hit, I could hit. That was fun to have it when I needed it."

And to match the career total that Nicklaus did not achieve until age 46 at the event hosted by Nicklaus made the result all the sweeter.

"It just makes it that much more special," Woods said. "If I would have won it somewhere else, it would have just been I tied Jack. But to do it here and have him here right next to me, that means something. It's awfully special."

Nicklaus replied to the adoring comments with a joke, saying, "He had to rub it in my face right here, didn't he?

"No, if he was going to do it, which he was obviously going to, I would like to see it happen here. That was great. And the way he did it, he just played great."

Woods snapped a 17-month win drought in March at Bay Hill in a PGA event hosted by another golf icon, Arnold Palmer, but was a disappointing 40th at the Masters two weeks later.

"At Bay Hill I played well on that Sunday, but I just didn't quite have the control I did today," Woods said. "I'm able to hit the ball, compressing it higher than I did at Bay Hill.

"At Augusta I got exposed, wasn't able to get the ball up in the air comfortably, and it showed. Went to work on it for the next few weeks, and I finally got it. It came around here when I needed it."

Woods had no comment about the drunken driving arrest of his agent, Mark Steinberg, in suburban New York on Saturday night.

Leading scores on Sunday after the final round of the $6.2 million US PGA Memorial tournament (USA unless noted, par-72):

279 - Tiger Woods 70-69-73-67

281 - Andres Romero (ARG) 69-73-72-67, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 69-69-71-72

283 - Daniel Summerhays 69-71-74-69, Spencer Levin 67-72-69-75

284 - Matt Every 69-75-71-69, Jonathan Byrd 71-70-72-71

285 - Justin Rose (GBR) 73-72-71-69

286 - Greg Owen (GBR) 72-71-76-67, Aaron Baddeley (AUS) 69-72-73-72, Ryo Ishikawa (JPN) 72-70-71-73

287 - Luke Donald (GBR) 71-73-75-68

288 - J.B. Holmes 72-75-74-67, Bo Van Pelt 73-69-75-71, Jim Furyk 72-68-75-73

289 - Davis Love 74-72-71-72, Kevin Stadler 72-73-71-73, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 72-73-69-75

290 - Hunter Mahan 72-73-77-68, K.J. Choi (KOR) 74-71-77-68, John Huh 71-74-76-69, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 73-72-73-72, Blake Adams 69-77-71-73, Dustin Johnson 71-71-73-75


  • Richard - 2012-06-04 07:36

    Well, well, well, Tiger Woods wins again. Keep counting --- 14 majors, 73 US PGA Tour victories, 96 victories worldwide! James Rossouw ("it must be performance enhancing drugs, Eldridge" posts), Bob and others must be miserable this morning. LOL

  • Andries - 2012-06-04 08:04

    Great stuff, Tiger. Well played, Rory.

  • Sabsy1969 - 2012-06-04 10:39

    The one at Augusta was also a chip, not a putt. Please check your facts

      Richard - 2012-06-04 11:15

      It was a flop shot, not a chip either.

  • Louis-John - 2012-06-04 15:46

    I'm glad Tiger Woods, who has $100 million and hot girlfriends, fanally won again. Now we can stop feeling sorry for him.

      Richard - 2012-06-05 14:24

      You are so right Louis-John. I make it a point not to feel sorry for billionnaires in any sport.. :). $1billion, hot girlfriends, and USPGA victories. Poor guy, how does TW get through the day or sleep at night without another win?

  • Frank - 2012-06-04 17:54

    Back to winning ways!!! sweet stuff

  • Frank - 2012-06-04 17:55

    Back to winning ways!!! sweet staff

  • Thulani - 2012-06-04 17:55

    Like him or hate him when he is on form evryone around enjoys a great piece of art. Just see the reaction of the fans at 16th.

      monwabisi.nombombo - 2012-06-04 19:55

      they were right when they said Woods is also human to make mistakes bt they will never put a good man down they can even take their sponsors but not the God given talent.

  • Richard - 2012-06-08 07:16

    Everytime he gets criticize by people stating he wont win again and his best days is behind him, I just laugh. Tiger Woods is better that half the field when he has a bad week and when his playing good, no-one can stop him, He might not dominate like the early 2000's, but he sure as hell will surpass Jack Nicklaus majors record!

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