Tiger plays it safe in coasting to easy win
Updated: 2013-08-06 06:49
By Associated Press in Akron, Ohio (China Daily)
Tiger Woods poses with the Bridgestone Invitational trophy after winning the Ohio tournament by seven strokes on Sunday. Phil Long / Associated Press
Readies for PGA Championship with eighth title at Bridgestone
They say par is a good score in a major.
If that's true next week at the PGA Championship, then Tiger Woods has already done his share of preparation.
Woods played safe and smart with a big lead, parring 16 holes in an even-par 70 on Sunday to coast to a seven-shot victory at the Bridgestone Invitational for his eighth win at the event - matching the PGA Tour record he already shared for victories in a single tournament.
"As blustery as it was, it was going to be really hard for someone to shoot 62 or 63," Woods said.
"If I didn't give any shots away and played my game and shot even par or better, I'd force these guys to go and shoot something super low on a golf course that wasn't going to give it up under these conditions."
As he walked to the scorer's trailer to finalize his score, Woods scooped up his 4-year-old son Charlie, who hugged him tightly as his father strode past the large gallery wildly cheering his landslide victory.
"This is the first win he's ever been at," Woods said. "That's what makes it special for both of us."
After a second-round 61, Woods ended up at 15-under 265 to easily beat defending champ Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson.
Bradley, a huge fan of Tiger's when he was a youngster, was asked if he liked to see Woods dominate like he did a decade or so ago.
"When I was younger, I did," Bradley said. "You know, I hate to sit here and go on and on about how good he is, but he is. It's difficult because I really want to get up there and contend with him. "
Woods' mastery at Firestone Country Club allowed him to again match Sam Snead's PGA Tour record for wins in an event. Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Earlier this year, Woods won at Bay Hill for the eighth time.
As if he weren't already the favorite next week in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, the lopsided victory reinforced it.
No one ever got within six shots all day of the world's No 1. When he had a good shot at a pin, he took it. Otherwise, he took few, if any, risks.
He birdied the 10th hole, then offset that with a three-putt bogey at the 14th hole. But by then most of the field was thinking about catching flights to Rochester instead of catching Woods.
Bradley, who won a year ago when Jim Furyk double-bogeyed the 72nd hole, shot a 67 to get to 8 under along with Stenson, who had a 70 while playing with Woods.
"He kind of punctured this tournament on Friday," Stenson said. "He did what he needed to do today."
For those betting Woods won't win next week at Oak Hill, keep in mind that he has already won both the Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in the same year three times in his career (2000, 2006, 2007).
Still, the odds do not favor him coming right back with another win. In the 19 times in which he has won his last start before a major, he's only followed up with a win four times: 2000 US Open (after winning The Memorial), 2001 Masters (Players), 2006 PGA (Buick) and 2007 PGA (Bridgestone).
The victory was Woods' 79th on the PGA Tour, drawing him within three of Snead's record 82 triumphs.
"The total body of work is pretty good," Woods said. "One of the things I'm proud of, obviously, is how many times I've won, plus won World Golf Championships and how many years I've won five or more tournaments in a season. What is it, like eight or nine times? Ten? That's not bad, either."
Lest anyone think he'll have difficulty surpassing Snead's total, consider that Woods is over 10 years younger (he's 37) than Snead was when he won his 82nd and final event, the 1965 Greater Greensboro.
(China Daily 08/06/2013 page23)