Sunday in the final round of the BMW Championship, Tiger fired a stress-free 63 and cruised to a 2-shot victory over Aaron Baddeley to wrest away the points lead in the inaugural FedExCup that will conclude this week in Atlanta.
Woods has now played 11 times in the event they used to call the Western Open. And he has made a western omelet out of the competition. He has won four times and posted eight top-10s there. When Tiger Woods is comfortable with the speed of the greens as he was this week; and when he finishes in the top 5 in driving distance and driving accuracy as he was this week, its simply no contest.
All of a sudden they (the putts) started dropping in from everywhere, Woods said on the same day his good friend, the equally dominant Roger Federer, won the U.S. Open in tennis. For the week, Woods didnt three-putt once. Sunday he needed just 18 putts for his first 14 holes.
Tiger Woods can also just plain win in his sleep.
He has now collected 60 official TOUR victories, all before his 32nd birthday. Three more and he will pass Arnold Palmer. One day he will almost certainly race past the all-time record of 82 held by Sam Snead. He has now won six times this year and 60 of the 215 times he has teed it up on the PGA TOUR for an unheard of (in golf) winning percentage of 27.9.
If Woods wins at East Lake this week, he will earn $1.26 million in prize money and receive $10 million in deferred money. (Who among us doesnt peg him as a prohibitive favorite next week?) He can do the math in his sleep.
Generally, Tiger said late Sunday, I feel pretty fresh.
If he doesnt already, this will all help Woods sleep better at night. He is on a pace to become sports first billion dollar athlete (on and off the course combined) by the time hes 35. To put it another way: His children and their children and their children will be set for life when it comes to money.
Woods likes money. He is, after all, human. But he didnt get into golf; didnt fall for the sport because he wanted to be a billionaire. Its just that now that hes going to be one some day, he can relax and play golf for the reason that hooked him to begin with: He loves the game.
Woods, playing one group ahead of Aaron Baddeley and Steve Stricker Sunday, because Baddeley had birdied the last two holes Saturday to nudge him from the final pairing, took his first lead in the final round when Baddeley bogeyed the sixth. This occurred just moments after Woods converted a short birdie putt on the seventh.
At that point Woods was 2 under on his round and one ahead of Stricker and Baddeley. Meanwhile, up ahead, Tim Clark was making an inspired run at the leaders with birdies on seven of his first nine holes. Clark also holed a 20-foot par save on the seventh to go with a bogey on No. 2.
Clark had entered the BMW Championship outside the top 30 in the FedExCup points standings which meant he needed a strong finish to get his ticket punched to East Lake.
All 30 players in Atlanta are guaranteed $175,000 in deferred money, plus an invitation to the 2008 Masters, plus whatever share they earn of the $7 million purse there.
Meanwhile, back at the BMW Championship, once again it became obvious that the TOUR had made a conscious decision to promote low scores. Clark finished with a 29 on the front and Woods, Baddeley and Stricker each birdied the seventh, eighth and ninth holes. Can you spell S-H-O-O-T-O-U-T? The scoring averages for the week at Cog Hill were the lowest in the history of the event by more than a full stroke.
NBC analyst Johnny Miller, more than once Sunday, said over-the-air that the scoring conditions were like shooting fish in a barrel.
Clark, Camilo Villegas and Stewart Cink all played their ways into the TOUR Championship from outside the top 30. But it is Woods who undoubtedly slept best Sunday night.
And if anybody in the world thinks they will unseat Woods from his top spot any time soon, they are sadly mistaken. Hes simply too good.
And, ay, theres the rub.
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