Woods wins Buick for 50th PGA title
The ultimate goal for Tiger Woods is to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record for victories
in professional majors.
Along the way, he also hopes to break Sam Snead's mark for PGA
Woods won his 50th PGA Tour title Sunday, shooting his fourth straight
6-under 66 for a three-stroke victory over Jim Furyk in the Buick
"I've had a lot of wonderful things happen to me in my career
so far on tour in 10 years," he said. "It's been a great
Woods reached a season-low 24 under and made a career-high 28 birdies
in the tournament to hold off Furyk -- who closed with a 64 -- for
his fourth win of the year. Woods earned $864,000 to push his tour-leading
total to $5,127,563.
He picked up his latest win after his emotional victory in the British
Open and before he shoots for his 12th major in two weeks at the
PGA Championship, where he hopes to close in on the record he covets:
Nicklaus' 18 pro major championships.
Woods became the seventh member of the PGA Tour's 50-win club and
improved to 21-for-21 when leading by more than one stroke after
three rounds. The 30-year-old Woods beat Nicklaus' record pace to
the milestone, which Nicklaus reached in 1973 at 33.
Snead is atop the PGA Tour's career wins list with 82, ahead of
Nicklaus (73), Ben Hogan (64), Arnold Palmer (62), Byron Nelson
(52) and Billy Casper (51).
Woods said "hopefully" he'll have enough success to catch
"It's going to be a lifetime, a career, to get to that point
and attain something like that," Woods said. "It took
me 10 years to get here, hopefully I can continue playing well over
the next 10, 20 years."
Woods has made 196 PGA Tour starts as a pro and 210 overall. Nicklaus
won his 50th title in his 280th start overall -- and 262nd as a
Vaughn Taylor, who finished five shots back, is in awe of Woods.
"He's probably the greatest player to ever play the game,
and we get to watch him every week," Taylor said. "I can't
even imagine doing the things he's done."
This year, Woods' four victories have come in 11 events.
At Warwick Hills, he likely ended any hopes his competitors had
when he made four birdies on the front nine to build on the two-shot
lead he had at the start of the fourth round.
Woods bogeyed the 12th hole, allowing Furyk to tie him briefly.
"I kept saying to myself, 'If Jim ties me, I'm still in the
driver's seat because I have the easier holes coming up,"'
He took the lead alone for good at 13 when his approach from 105
yards landed close enough for a tap-in birdie. At 15, Woods' birdie
gave him a two-shot lead and essentially clinched his second Buick
After making a 7-foot par putt at 17, Woods took a two-shot lead
into the final hole and was able to enjoy his latest victory stroll
up the fairway where an overflow crowd cheered louder each step
that he got closer to the green. Fittingly, he made a birdie at
Woods, also the 2002 winner at Warwick Hills, fell one stroke short
of his 72-hole record of 25-under 263 from the 2002 WGC-American
Express Championship, then said he really doesn't like playing in
"I enjoy playing where single digits is a good winning score,"
Joe Durant (67) finished four shots back, alone in third. Taylor
(68) and Scott Verplank (69) tied for fourth at 19 under with Sean
O'Hair (67) to improve their chances of earning spots on the U.S.
Ryder Cup team.
Taylor moved up to seventh and Verplank went from 22nd to 18th.
The top 10 players earn automatic berths on the team next month
Vijay Singh had a chance to become the first player to win three
straight Buick Opens -- and four overall -- when he started the
day three shots back. But Singh closed with a 70 to tie for 11th
at 17 under.
"I never got any momentum going," he said. "I drove
the ball beautifully, but couldn't make anything."
After winning at Royal Liverpool, Woods sobbed uncontrollably in
the arms of caddie Steve Williams and wife Elin because he won for
the first time since his father's death in May.
The scene at Warwick Hills' 18th green was one the world has become
more accustomed to since he turned pro in 1996. After making a 10-footer
to match the score he had in the three previous rounds, he pumped
his fist, punched the air, tipped his cap and smiled as he wiped
sweat -- not tears -- off his face.
"At this course, the goal is to shoot 66 every day,"
Williams said. "I guess we accomplished that, eh?"
August 7, 2006