Tiger The Favorite Who Won

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It was motoring.
 
That 30-foot putt that Tiger Woods jarred on the 72nd hole in Dubai Sunday would not have gone in the hole if it hadnt hit the back of the cup dead center.
 
But it did, of course. And now Woods has won two tournaments in two tries this year, of course.
 
Of course. Of course. Of course. Of course.
 
Tiger Woods has now captured six of his last seven starts worldwide. He shot 65 on Sunday, including a 31 on the back nine that left him one clear of Germanys rising star Martin Kaymer and two ahead of third-round leader Ernie Els, who started the final round four shots ahead of Woods.
 
Question for the critics who think Tiger wins too much:
 
Do you still think this is boring?
 
Of course not.
 
If you do, theres always The Tennis Channel.
 
Well, said the television announcer from Dubai after Woods round, I have no idea what they pay Tiger Woods to come here. But its worth every single dollar.
 
Alas, poor Ernie Els. He has now finished second to Woods seven times in his distinguished career. Nobody has more runners-up to Woods than Els. Its a dubious distinction for the 38-year-old South African who for years now has been fighting the uninvited presence of Woods inside his head.
 
It was back on Dec. 20 of 2006 when Els said, Ive got to give myself a three-year stretch to try to approach him (Woods). And I really believe I can do it.
 
Woods is 32. And the sad fact for Els is that he must now consider the possibility that his window to conquer Woods in the world rankings has closed.
 
Els, playing behind Woods in the final group, missed a 4-footer at the 11th and a 5-footer at the 12th. By the time he got to the 18th he needed birdie on the par 5 to force a playoff. He had 240 yards left to the hole after his drive.
 
The (second) shot was right where I wanted it but I could see a gust of wind get it in the air, said a deflated Els afterward. It didnt have much of a chance in the end.
 
The ball splashed into the greenside water hazard. From there Els made six. It was a bogey that marked the second time in three years he has lost to Woods in this event because he dunked his second on the 18th hole.
 
Woods had played himself out of position with an erratic 1-over 73 Saturday that had all the earmarks of creeping jet lag. He had arrived in Dubai Monday after destroying the field in San Diego last week by eight shots at the Buick Invitational. Then he cracked his driver in the Wednesday pro-am and struggled with his backup much of the week.
 
But Woods quickly played himself back into things Sunday at Dubai. I birdied three of the first four and next thing you know Im right in it, he said. Then I bogey the sixth and the ninth and I have played myself right out of it.
 
Then he birdied five of the last seven coming home to establish a clubhouse lead of 14 under par that no one would catch. To go two-for-two, thats a pretty good start isnt it? Woods asked of 2008 to date.
 
The putt on 18 for Woods that turned out to be the winner might have gone 10 feet by if the hole hadnt gotten in the way. And that could have posed a problem considering Kaymers birdie-birdie-eagle finish that left him one behind Tiger.
 
It was motoring.
 
So, too, is Woods. Again.
 
A pretty neat finish, he said on a day when other heavy favorites'Phil Mickelson in the playoff in Arizona and the Patriots in the Super Bowl'couldnt get it done.
 
You cant help getting the feeling right now that Tiger Woods is motoring, to ... driving a metaphorical race car while all the others are pedaling bicycles.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Dubai Desert Classic
  • Full Coverage - FBR Open