The Match Play Championship was the only one of the four World Golf Championship events that Woods had not won. He has played in 14 WGC events and won seven of them
Its really pretty cool to have all four, said Woods. I guess theyre all different in their own right, but Im extremely happy to win this one. And this one was tough all week Im pretty stoked about it.
Woods dropped a four-foot putt for par on the 17th hole in the afternoon to finally subdue the pesky Toms. For most of the morning it looked a Tiger runaway, but he made three bogeys in the afternoon as the greens got progressively slicker and Toms made a tight match of it.
Adam Scott won the consolation match in an all-Australian affair, 1-up, over Peter Lonard after zooming ahead by six holes after only eight had been played. That match, too, tightened up considerably, Scott hanging on the last two holes to win.
Tiger led 4-up at the end of the morning round and increased it to 5-up when he birdied the first hole of the afternoon. He appeared on his way to a quick TKO, but suddenly Toms threw a major scare into the world No. 1.
Match play is a very fickle thing, said a tired Woods after it was finally over. Theres so many different things that go, just the momentum, how it ebbs and flows.
Toms birdied Nos. 2 and 3 back-to-back to get back into it, now only three holes down. Woods birdied the sixth hole to go back up by four, but then sprayed the ball badly on Nos. 8 and 9 for bogeys. Suddenly it was tight again, Tiger up by only two as the homeward half began.
Giving him those holes back-to-back like that with bogeys, not like he made back-to-back birdies ' I gave him those two holes, said Tiger. And thats ' you just cant do that in match play.
And I didnt putt well today. My speed was off. The greens were so fast out there. I dont know what they were rolling, but they were rolling pretty quick.
The match tightened further when Toms birdied the par-5 11th and Woods didnt. Now the big five-hole lead was reduced to the minimum, Woods 1-up as they played the 12th. The two traded holes again before the 17th, which Toms started by blocking his tee shot into the right rough with a tree in his line to the flag. Woods, after a perfect drive, hit a 7-iron 195 yards, the ball skipping into a bunker. However, he was able to get up-and-down in two shots for the win.
Im not going to quit ' thats not my nature, said Toms. Its a battle within yourself and I was able to overcome that.
The fact that Toms was never able to get the lead loomed large all day. I think that was huge from the momentum standpoint, that he never really got all the momentum, said Tiger. He got a lot of it, but he didnt get all of it.
Toms was impressed all week by Woods and the way he had to play. Hes the greatest player in the world, he said, but this week ' with the soft conditions ' he had to go to a different type game to win matches.
You guys dont realize for a guy who hits the ball that hard, as much spin as he puts on it ' he had to just chip the ball around the golf course, Toms said in praising Woods. If he hits it on the nose, the ball spins back off the green. So every time he stepped up, he was hitting one to two more clubs than he normally would (because the course was so damp.)
Woods was involved in only one other struggle all week, the Saturday semifinal with Scott. Tiger shot a 5-under 67 in the regulation 18, but so did a hot Scott. Woods won the first extra hole when Scott blew his first putt three feet past the flag, then missed the comeback attempt for a bogey.
Woods shot 3-under while stopping Carl Pettersson, 2-up, in the first match. Pettersson was 1-under in the 17-hole set. Woods defeated K.J. Choi while shooting 2-under for 15 holes, then buried Stephen Leaney with a six-birdie, one-bogey performance.
Next he toppled Scott Hoch, 5 and 4, during a day when Hoch was shooting 3-under in the 14 holes they played. Woods had five birdies and an eagle. Next came the 5-under par in the semis against Scott ' a total of 22-under for just 77 holes. If youre keeping score, thats an average tally of better than 68 for every 18 holes.
Woods has now won two of the three tournaments he has entered since coming back from knee surgery in the off-season. He won the Buick Invitational three weeks ago and finished three shots out of the lead at the Nissan Open two weeks ago.
Im starting to feel good, Woods said. Theres no doubt about it. I was on a tear, actually, from 99 into 2000. It kind of rolled over into it.
I started to putting the pieces together at the end of last year. At the Grand Slam I started to play better. My practice sessions at home, Im starting to hit some balls. I was starting to work on some things that I know I used to do in my golf swing that I havent been able to do because of my leg, and things were starting to come together, and Im pretty excited about that.