Tiger Woods once again pulled some magic out of his black Nike hat in the final round of the Memorial Tournament on Sunday when he made a miraculous par on the 14th hole - from almost the same spot as he did in 1999.
Five years ago, Woods holed a sand wedge from ankle-deep rough behind the green to hold off Vijay Singh and win the first of his three consecutive Memorial Tournament titles.
He made an almost identical shot Sunday, although he ended up in third place, six shots behind Ernie Els.
'It was close to it, wasn't it?' Woods said. 'I think that was a par as well. The only difference is I had the lead (in 1999).'
Woods trailed Els by four shots as he came to the 14th tee. But Woods mishit a 4-iron that went wild to the left and plopped in the middle of a small stream that meanders about 50 yards left away from the landing area.
After taking a drop, Woods hit his iron approach long and it bounced into the thick hay behind the narrow, par-4 green, under a spectator's camp stool.
The ball was almost covered by heavy, thick grass, but he was able to get a sand wedge under it with a powerful swing. The ball floated high into the air and landed softly on the green, gradually picking up speed as it headed down a slope toward the hole and - beyond that - the same stream. Instead the ball slammed into the pin and dropped out of sight.
A broad smile crossed Woods' face as he shook his head. He looked at his caddie, Steve Williams, and said, 'Wow!'
Television commentators called it one of the greatest pars ever - at least since the last time Woods did it on the same hole.
'How about that, huh?' Woods said with a laugh. 'That was another one of my greasy pars there.'
Top 10 List
Ben Curtis waited 11 months to finally finish in the top 10 of a PGA Tour event.
An unknown who stunned the golf world with his upset victory at the 2003 British Open, Curtis shot a closing even-par 72 to tie Retief Goosen and Jay Haas for eighth place at the Memorial. He had rounds of 68, 69 and 73 heading into the final round.
Curtis grew up about 20 minutes from Muirfield Village, the site of the Memorial, and often visited the tournament as a spectator when he was a kid.
He had struggled since winning at Royal St. George's last July, but thinks he now is close to turning things around as the U.S. Open approaches in two weeks at Shinnecock Hills.
'It's a little frustrating but I'm happy to finish with a good tournament,' Curtis said. 'Overall I'm quite happy. I still have things to work on. But my next tournament will be the U.S. Open and if play like I did this week I feel like I'll have a good chance.'
Betsy Rawls and Cary Middlecoff were announced Sunday as the 2005 honorees of the Memorial Tournament.
Each year the tournament selects players, living or dead, who have made lasting contributions to golf. This year's honorees were Lee Trevino and Joyce Weathered.
Rawls joined the LPGA Tour in 1951 and went on to win 55 tournaments - including eight major championships - before retiring in 1975.
Middlecoff, who died in 1998 at the age of 77, won 40 tournaments around the world including two U.S. Opens and a Masters.
They will be honored at ceremonies they day before the start of next year's Memorial.
Els joins Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson as the only players to win at both Muirfield Village and the course's namesake in Scotland, Muirfield. ... Els played the par-5 holes in 10 under for the tournament, and was 6 under on par-4s and 2 under on par 3s. ... Couples has now finished first, second, third and fourth at the Memorial. ... Defending champion Kenny Perry shot a 69, making four consecutive birdies at one point, to finish in a tie for sixth with Stephen Ames.
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