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Food Poisoning Cant Stop Woods

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Given a five-stroke lead to start the day, about the only thing that would have prevented Tiger Woods from winning his fourth straight Bay Hill Invitational title would have been if he decided to quit.
 
He didn't, even though he might have wanted to.
 
Woods had no problem with the field Sunday, but battled food poisoning, brought on by a bad plate of pasta, throughout his final round.
 
Still, he needed only 68 swings under a constant downpour to become the first player in 73 years to win the same PGA Tour on four consecutive occasions.
 
It was just a tough day, he said, slumped over in his chair during the winners interview. We had rain. I wasnt feeling my best. It just made for a very difficult and long round of golf.
 
So all that being said, Im very, very happy the way I played today and managed my game.
 
Woods finished with a 19-under-par 269 total, five strokes higher than the tournament record, but 11 strokes better than anyone this year. He didn't make a bogey over his final 44 holes, and is now 28-2 when taking a lead into the final round on tour.
 
Brad Faxon (74), Stewart Cink (72), Kenny Perry (71) and Kirk Triplett (70) all tied for second place at 8-under.
 
It tied his third largest margin of victory on the PGA Tour. There were player rumblings all week on how difficult the Champion course at Bay Hill Club & Lodge was playing this year, so it should come as no surprise that the chasm between first and second was so deep.
 
Woods won the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15; the 1997 Masters at Augusta National by 12, and the 2000 WGC-NEC Invitational at Firestone by 11.
 
This may have been Tigers easiest Bay Hill victory in marginal terms, but it proved to be his most demanding.
 
Woods said he felt sick about a half an hour after eating the spaghetti his girlfriend Elin Nordegren had prepared Saturday evening at his home. Nordegren was hospitalized overnight Friday when she collapsed due to dehydration brought on by food poisoning.
 
Woods said he thought about going to the emergency room, but, Its so easy to check into a hospital, but getting out is the hard part, he said.
 
He estimated that he vomited 20, 30 times overnight and even slept on the couch because it was the closest rest area to the restroom.
 
The night was long and the day was probably even longer, he said, adding that he had hoped the round would be canceled when he heard thunder in the morning.
 
If I wasnt in contention, I wouldnt have gone, theres no way, Woods said.
 
Woods spent more time resting on his bag than he did practicing prior to the Sunday round. In fact, he constantly had to sit or kneel down in between shots in order to conserve energy and keep from being nauseous.
 
Not that it was completely preventative.
 
Tiger hit his tee shot at the par-4 third and the headed towards the trees where he almost vomited.
 
Nonetheless, he parred the hole and actually gained a shot as Faxon made bogey. Woods then flew a 3-wood 256 yards to within 12 feet of the hole at the par-5 fourth. He made the eagle putt to get to 17-under; nine strokes clear of anyone else.
 
'That 3-wood on the fourth hole was a beautiful shot That kind of iced the cake right away,' said Faxon, who played alongside Woods.
 
'I let him borrow some Imodium (diarrhea medicine) on the 12th hole. It's no fun; you're in the public eye and all you want to do is go lie down.'
 
From there it was simply a matter of not physically collapsing.
 
Woods again doubled over in between the seventh green and eighth tee box. That came on the heels of a birdie where he knocked his tee shot on the par-3 to six feet.
 
Every single tee shot hurt because my abs were obviously sore from last night, he remarked.
 
Woods finished with 10 pars and a birdie over his final 11 holes to claim the $810,000 first-place prize. He now leads the money list with $2,841,000 -- in just four events played this season.
 
Gene Sarazen was the last player to win the same event four times in a row. He won the Miami Open in 1926 and again in 1928-30. The tournament was not contested in 1927. Walter Hagen was the last player to win the same event four consecutive years, doing so in the PGA Championship (1924-27).
 
Woods almost had to wait till Monday before he could sign his name to another page in history.
 
Officials knew once the rain started that it wouldnt stop. Thats why they pushed up tee times to begin at 8:00 AM ET, and went off split tees. But the expectant afternoon showers arrived much earlier, welcoming the players to the course and making the experience -- which lasted almost five and a half hours -- all the more miserable for Woods.
 
'I was surprised we were able to get it in,' Woods said of playing the round under those conditions. 'The only fairway that was unplayable was 16.'
 
'Everybody just wanted to finish the round,' said Faxon, who was told by a rules official that had any player complained play would have been suspended, probably till Monday morning.
 
But the weather proved beneficial as well -- at least to Tiger.
 
I got very lucky it rained today, instead of being hot and humid, Woods said in reference to not getting dehydrated to the point where he couldnt continue.
 
Tiger next heads up I-95 to Ponte Vedra Beach, where he will try for his fourth victory in five events since returning from knee surgery.
 
I think Im going to take the next couple of days off and not really do a whole lot and try and get healthy again, he said. I know the golf course. I know TPC, know how to play it.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Bay Hill Invitational
  • Full coverage of the Bay Hill Invitational