Woods and Nicklaus Win Battle at Bighorn


PALM DESERT, Calif. -- Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, the pairing of possibly the greatest players in golf history, defeated Sergio Garcia and Lee Trevino, 3 and 2, Monday to capture the Battle at Bighorn.
'It was a lot of fun to compete,' said Woods, who already has eight major championships to his credit. 'We made 15 birdies as a group. Never seen anything like that. We all played pretty well and I think the fans enjoyed it.'
'I had a great partner,' said the 62-year-old Nicklaus, an 18-time major champion. 'It was an honor to play with all of them.'
Despite losing the highly anticipated match-up, Trevino and Garcia took positives out of the experience.
'It was a great day for me,' said Trevino, who only needed the Masters to complete the career Grand Slam. 'I played better than I thought I would. The highlight was I told Tiger he couldn't hit his 2-iron past my driver and he couldn't do it.'
'To have a chance to play with Jack and Lee, it was really a pleasure,' said Garcia, the only player in the foursome without a major. 'I don't have a chance to do it many times.'
Woods was brilliant Monday, collecting nine birdies, and Nicklaus took care of the rest. At the par-4 ninth, Nicklaus hit right at the stick with a 7-iron and left himself a foot from the hole, forcing the opposition to concede the birdie tap-in. Trevino, who told Woods that Nicklaus would knock it stiff while Nicklaus' shot was in the air, pulled a six-footer for birdie, putting Woods and Nicklaus 2-up as they began the back nine.
'I said Jack likes to hit it stiff when all the people are watching,' said Trevino, who slapped hands with Woods after calling Nicklaus' approach at 9. 'I thoroughly enjoyed it.'
Nicklaus, who has battled back problems for the last two years, landed his tee ball at the par-3 13th 12 feet from the stick. Garcia was closer by a few feet but watched as Nicklaus sank the birdie try. Garcia's birdie putt for the halve burned the left edge, failing to find the bottom of the cup.
After the win at the 13th, Woods and Nicklaus were 3-up, a lead they would not squander.
The match ended at the par-3 16th hole. Nicklaus went right and long off the tee and picked up his ball. Trevino came up 40 feet short of the hole and left himself with a five-foot par save. Woods had 18 feet to win the match but missed his birdie try, leaving Garcia as the last player to extend the match. His 15-footer rolled five feet past the hole, but he made the comeback putt for nothing as Woods drained his short par save to win the contest.
'It felt good to get out and compete with Jack and against these two guys,' said Woods, whose chance at the single-season Grand Slam faded two weeks ago at the British Open with a third-round 81. 'That was fun and to win was more fun.'
Woods started quickly as he knocked a 9-iron inside five feet of the hole at the first. He made the birdie putt to put Woods and Nicklaus 1-up and Woods once again holed a birdie putt at the second, this time from 25 feet. Garcia had a chance to halve the hole from 25 feet but missed his putt on the left side.
All four players birdied the third hole, but Trevino took advantage at the fourth. He drained a 10-foot birdie after Woods and Nicklaus both missed their birdie attempts and cut Woods and Nicklaus' lead in half.
Nicklaus went way left off the fifth tee and never factored into the hole. Woods drove well right of the fairway but was able to reach the green, leaving himself with a 15-foot birdie chance. Trevino once again holed a birdie try and the match was even after Woods' 15-footer lipped out of the hole.
Garcia birdied the par-3 sixth to give his side a 1-up lead but that was short-lived as Woods capitalized on the par-5 seventh with a six-foot birdie to even the match.
All four players peppered the flag with their tee shots at the eighth. Nicklaus roped a 2-iron 10 feet from the hole, then Woods hit a 5-iron two feet of the hole, forcing the opposition to concede the hole. Garcia missed a 10-foot birdie left and Trevino also pulled a seven-foot birdie try, meaning Woods and Nicklaus were 1-up.
After the win at the eighth, Woods and Nicklaus took control. Nicklaus won the ninth with his amazing approach and both Trevino and Garcia made a mess of the 10th. Garcia found a bunker, Trevino missed a pair of putts and all Woods had to do was two-putt from five feet. Woods drained the first putt for another birdie and a 3-up lead.
Garcia got one back for the team at 11 when he rammed in a 10-foot birdie putt. Both teams made birdie at the par-5 12th before Nicklaus reclaimed the 3-up advantage with his birdie at 13.
Garcia made his fifth birdie of the round at the 14th but Woods countered with his eighth of the round to halve the hole and maintain his team's 3-up lead.
The par-5 15th hole was the first played under the lights and Trevino two-putted for birdie. With Trevino already in with birdie, Garcia gave his eagle putt a good rap but missed. Woods left himself with a two-foot birdie putt that found the hole, meaning Woods and Nicklaus were 3-up with three to play and Garcia and Trevino needed to win every hole on their way in to tie the match.
It didn't happen. When Woods parred the 16th, the Battle at Bighorn belonged to Tiger and Jack.
With the win, Nicklaus and Woods split $1.2 million, while Trevino and Garcia will have to share $500,000.