In the end, Tiger Woods won.
For the seventh straight time in a PGA TOUR event.
For the 55th time in his career in a PGA TOUR event at the tender age of 31.
His final round Sunday 66 in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines South, the same course at which they will play the 2008 U.S. Open, was brilliant. And it was the low round of the day.
But it was more about how his presence on the first page of the leaderboard late in the fourth round these days has an increasingly daunting effect on his opponents than it was about how he somehow manages to continue to improve.
CBS-TVs David Feherty said it best on the air Sunday when, all about him, Tigers challengers were losing their heads. Its kinda like being at a Stones concert and singing along, Feherty said. You feel like your part of it. But no one else notices.
Right now on the PGA TOUR nobody is going to notice anybody else but Tiger Woods. At least, that is, until somebody comes along and stops what feels like an inexorable march towards (and past) Byron Nelsons PGA TOUR victory of 11 straight official wins set way back in 1945.
I know this sounds crazy, one prominent golf psychologist told me late last week. But I wouldnt be surprised if Tiger Woods doesnt lose a tournament all year.
Right now everybodys trying to figure out where Woods will play next in America. Its Dubai next week in the Middle East, not a PGA TOUR event. After that its probably either the Nissan Open at Riviera next month or the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships in Tucson the following week.
I dont know, Woods said moments after his win at the Buick Invitational had pushed his career (on course) earnings past $66 million dollars. Dubais a long way and itll probably take forever for me coming back. Id love to take some time off and get adjusted to the time and see what happens from there.
Its not inconceivable, if the win streak remains intact, that he will tie Nelsons record at the Masters in April and break it at Nelsons tournament in April.
Has anyone ever commanded the Big Stage in golf the way Woods is now? Soon Woods streak will command the attention of the entire sporting world.
Meanwhile, beware the bounce back. Woods only hiccup Sunday at Torrey Pines was a bogey on seven which he promptly followed with a birdie at eight and an eagle on nine. The latter is a par-5 in excess of 600 yards. Woods second shot stopped 26 feet from the hole.
A former European Tour player, who had competed against Woods in college, once told me if PGA TOUR events were 90 holes Woods would never lose.
Tiger had two bogeys early in his first round Thursday at Torrey Pines North course. But he knew he had more than three and a half rounds to recover. Which he did. With relative ease.
Give him four days these days and he will reel in the field.
This is why the match play event might be the most dangerous obstacle to this streak. He can shoot the equivalent of a 66 and get beat by a hot player who shoots the equivalent of a 65 on that one day.
Anyhow, the streak lives. The momentum of the story builds. And those of us who appreciate the state of the art in golf remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be living in the time of Tiger Woods.
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