Backspin Classic Beatdown Historic Win


Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
ANY MORE QUESTIONS?: Tiger Woods was a shot out of the lead heading into the final round at Firestone, but by the seventh hole Sunday, Tiger had built a comfortable four-stroke advantage. He went on to easily win his third straight WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title -- and his sixth overall -- by a mind-numbing eight strokes.
BackspinIn the process of his runaway victory, Tiger became the first player to ever win the same tournament three consecutive times on two different ocassions. Meanwhile, the United States Secretary of Defense has accordingly issued a DEFCON-1 warning to Tiger's peers for this week's PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
ANY MORE QUESTIONS? PART II: Lorena Ochoa cruised to a four-shot win at the Women's British Open to finally secure her first career major victory, at historic St. Andrews no less. After she wrestled away the No.1 world ranking from Annika Sorenstam, many felt she would need a major championship to validate such a ranking.
BackspinMission accomplished. Her win on Sunday not only answered the critics but will now create an almost Tiger-like gap in the rankings between her and the second-ranked player in the world. And the cherry on top? Ochoa will feel delighted that her name can now be mention with the likes of Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Woods as players to win a major championship at the home of golf.
LONG TIME COMING: There was technically only one winner at St. Andrews, but many of those in the field will tell you that they felt victorious just playing the historic venue. This was the first time St. Andrews held a professional women's event and, despite the Scottish weather, the majority of the ladies will tell you that they could not have enjoyed the experience more.
BackspinThe St. Andrews clubhouse, which was opened to women for the first time, is famous for its sign that said, 'No Women or Dogs Allowed.' Perhaps this will be the first of many major championships for the women at St. Andrews. And maybe some other famous courses will soon open their doors to the ladies as well.
CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: Once again, Rory Sabbatini got his wish. Just as he had at the Wachovia Championship, Sabbatini entered the final round at Firestone with a one-shot lead over Tiger. And just like at Wachovia, Woods let Rory talk -- and then walked all over him. Sabbatini shot 4-over 74 to ultimately finish nine back of Woods.
BackspinSabbatini has now officially become the Joker to Tiger's Batman. Maybe he can join up with Tiger's other arch nemeses -- Phil, Vijay, Ames, Michael Campbell, and anyone else who has dared to speak out against him -- and they can form a Tiger Hater's Club. But give Sabbatini some credit. His bravado is in stark contrast to most players who sheepishly bow down to Tiger. Of course, after this latest beat down, we might not hear a negative word about Tiger come out of Rory's -- or anyone else's -- mouth for a while.
IN THE FLES(C)H: Steve Flesch had been struggling all year just to make cuts on the PGA TOUR. But at the Reno-Tahoe Open, Flesch not only made it to the weekend, but became the first wire-to-wire winner on TOUR this season.
BackspinFlesch's five-stroke victory was the third of his career and gained him entry into this week's PGA Championship. Floundering all the way down at 132nd on the PGA TOUR money list, the $540,000 winner's check - along with a two-year TOUR exemption - gives the high-strung Flesch a chance to breathe easy and relax.
STYLE POINTS: D.A. Weibring fired a 5-under 67 on Sunday to overcome a flawless final-round 9-under 63 by Jay Haas to grab the trophy at the 3M Championship at the TPC of the Twin Cities. It was Weibring's fourth career Champions Tour victory.
BackspinTalk about winning in style: Weibring trailed Haas, the Champions Tour's premiere player, by two shots with three holes to play. And then? Birdie at 16. Another birdie at 17. And yes, a birdie at 18 to win by a single stroke. After the win, Weibring announced he was donating a portion of his winnings to the relief efforts of the bridge collapse in the Twin Cities. Stylish and classy.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tadd Fujikawa made his professional debut at the Reno-Tahoe Open but missed the cut by six shots; Annika Sorenstam borrowed her pal Tiger's St. Andrews yardage book for the Women's British Open; Jim Furyk withdrew from the Bridgestone Invitational after his back started tightening up early in the week; Chris DiMarco had a solid tie for fourth at Firestone, moving him closer to the top-10 in the Presidents Cup points race.
BackspinAfter a opening-round 78 and a poor start on Friday, the 16-year-old Fujikawa could have packed it in - but he didn't. Five birdies on his final 10 holes put a big smile on his face and garnered a lot of respect from his playing partners; Tiger's yardage book is one thing, but that book means nothing if Tiger is not the one hitting the shots; Furyk was coming off a win at the Canadian Open and was in the midst of playing seven events in an eight week stretch - injury or not, rest was needed for the world's No. 2 player; DiMarco has no doubt caught the attention of U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus with his recent form, regardless of where he finishes on the points list.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Bridgestone Invitational
  • Full Coverage - Women's British Open