Four shots back of third-round leader Vijay Singh through nine holes Sunday, Woods came roaring home with five straight birdies to tie the Sherwood Country Club course record of 64 and win by three shots. Woods, the host since the tournament's inception in 1999, donated the $1 million first prize to his foundation, which supports programs for underprivileged youths.
The victory was Woods' second in golf's 'silly season' in 2001, as he also captured his fourth straight PGA Grand Slam of Golf last month. The world's top-ranked player reeled in six official wins this year worldwide, including his first Players Championship, second straight Bay Hill Invitational and third straight Memorial title.
Besides winning the WGC-NEC Invitational for a third straight season, as well, Woods also triumphed at the Deutsche Bank - SAP Open TPC of Europe in Germany for the second time in three years.
But his biggest moment of 2001 came at the Masters, where he earned his second green jacket and became the first golfer in history to hold all four major championship titles at once.
Although he came up short in defense of his three major wins (the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship) from 2000, Woods, who turns 26 on the second-to-last day of the year, managed to finish the season with a 6.51-point lead over No. 2 Phil Mickelson in the official World Golf Rankings, a list he has headed for a record 124 consecutive weeks.
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