Tiger Woods wins at Doral
Tiger Woods picked up his second win of 2013 on Sunday, going wire-to-wire to win the WGC-Cadillac Championship. It’s the seventh time that Woods has won the event, and his fourth at the Blue Monster course at Doral.
We could go on and on about the stats behind the win for Woods, but here’s what you need to know: even though he’s won five of his last twenty-one starts worldwide, this is the best that I’ve seen Woods play in years. Yes, it came at a course that he’s comfortable at, much like his win earlier this year at the Farmers, but it doesn’t change the fact that just about everything was working for him this week. He asked good friend Steve Stricker for some help with his putting on Wednesday, and it clearly worked, as he led in pretty much every putting stat all week. He only had 100 putts over the four days, which is his lowest total of all-time. His approaches into greens were superb, especially the short irons and wedges, which has been a sore spot for him in recent years. His distance control was precise, he was hitting both cuts and draws into greens, and even the shots that were a little loose didn’t end up costing him because his recoveries were fantastic. He wasn’t as good on Sunday, at least in that there were more subpar shots than the first three days, but it’s a minor complaint. There have been better individual rounds in recent years, but in terms of a four-day event, he hasn’t played this well and this consistently in years.
It’s his 76th career PGA Tour win, putting him six wins behind Sam Snead for the all-time record for most wins on the PGA Tour. He’s now 50-of-54 when carrying a lead into the final round, and couldn’t possibly be in a better spot heading into Bay Hill, where he’ll defend in a couple of weeks.
- 1. Tiger Woods -19
- 2. Steve Stricker -17
- T3. Adam Scott -14
- T3. Sergio Garcia -14
- T3. Graeme McDowell -14
- T3. Phil Mickelson -14
GIFs of the week
It seems like I post GIFs of Phil Mickelson every week, but these are ridiculous. After Mickelson hit his tee shot off the cart path on 17 in Thursday’s opening round, he thought it was better to play his second off of the path instead of taking a drop. The result was pretty good, I’d say:
As fantastic as that was, his explanation to Golf Channel’s Steve Sands was even better. Apparently what he did isn’t overly difficult.
The stupid thing Johnny Miller said this week
It’s a well documented fact that Johnny Miller focuses mostly on American golf, and anyone who watched NBC’s coverage of the Ryder Cup will remember that Miller was the biggest cheerleader for the American side throughout the event. He’s always been dismissive towards European golf, and that was on display once again today. Dan Hicks was bringing up the Twitter conversation between Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell last night, when Poulter suggested that Woods basically had the tournament wrapped up:
RT @ianjamespoulter “Looks like Tiger has this week taken care of…..”>>thanks for giving us all a chance Poults
— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) March 10, 2013
Miller then chimed in this gem:
“Both of them should twitter that they both just won a tournament in the US.” —Johnny Miller being old and stupid
— Lindsay Mills (@lindsaymills) March 10, 2013
Two things: First off, the quote is exactly from the broadcast, and it doesn’t even make sense, but that’s just a case of Miller tripping over his words, as he usually does at least a couple of times during NBC’s weekend coverage. What he meant to reference was Poulter and McDowell’s lack of success in the United States, despite their combined 25 wins worldwide and their status as two of the best players in the world. Granted, the pair have only won three events on the PGA Tour, but they’re all big ones, with Poulter winning a pair of WGC’s and McDowell grabbing his first major at the 2010 U.S. Open. They’d probably both tell you they’ve underachieved, but once again, Miller seems to be ignoring the facts.
Luke Donald isn’t a fan of the 18th
It wasn’t a great week for the former world number one, but it would have been much better if it wasn’t for the 18th, one of the most difficult holes on the PGA Tour every year. Donald finished his tournament at +1, but he was 8-over par on the closing hole alone, making double bogey each day after finding the water off the tee in all four rounds. After he was finished, he made a plea to course owner Donald Trump on Twitter:
Dear @realdonaldtrump if you are going to blow up Doral, could you start with the 18th please!! #4doubles #nightmare
— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) March 10, 2013
Unfortunately for Donald, Trump has already said that the 18th is the only hole that isn’t being touched when Gil Hanse starts his re-design on Monday morning.
- After an opening-round 73, Rory McIlroy played his first three under par rounds of the year at Doral, including a very impressive 65 in the toughest conditions of the week today. We won’t see him for a couple of weeks, as he said he won’t play again until Houston, but those who were sounding the alarms a few weeks ago can stop now.
- We talked about Stricker’s putting tips for Woods at the beginning, but he did pretty well for himself this week, finishing alone in second at 17-under par. With his semi-retirement starting this year, Stricker is barely playing anymore, but that’s not stopping him from having success. He was the runner-up to Dustin Johnson at Kapalua, and was 3-1 at the Match Play, losing only to Poulter. It’s not supposed to be this easy when you don’t play.
- Another good tournament for Sergio Garcia as well, finishing tied for third at 14-under par. He hasn’t had a bad week since missing the cut at the PGA Championship last August, and really is looking like a serious major threat this year.
- On the flip side, Zach Johnson just can’t seem to get it together, finishing at 2-over par this week. He hasn’t landed inside the top-10 since the Open Championship last July, and it’s pretty much because he can’t seem to putt. Over the last three months, he’s actually hitting nearly 75% of his greens in regulation, but he’s averaging over 30 putts per round right now, which should be inconceivable for a player of his ability on the greens.
- Impressed with last week’s winner Michael Thompson as well. As Miller pointed out on the broadcast, it’s difficult to follow up a win on the PGA Tour with another solid performance, especially if you’re not known as one of the better players out there, but he ended up finishing tied for 8th.
- Scott Brown ended up winning the opposite field event in Puerto Rico by one shot over Jordan Spieth and Fabian Gomez after Gomez bogeyed the 18th hole. The victory gets Brown into the Masters next month.
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