Akron, Ohio (AP) — Tiger
Woods sailed a cloud-touching 8-iron to within a foot of the cup on No.
16 while leader Padraig Harrington was imploding with a triple-bogey,
ending all the drama Sunday in yet another World Golf Championship win
for Woods at the Bridgestone Invitational.
"When I hit it I knew
it was going to be a good one," Woods said after his 70th career win in
his 248th career start, a .299 winning percentage. "I thought it was
going to be just a little bit past the hole. I was surprised it spun
that much, considering it was that much downwind. But it came back and
ended up a kick-in."
The victory was the 16th in 30 WGC events
for the world's No. 1 player, including six times in the CA
Championship, three times at the Accenture Match Play and a record
seven times at Firestone Country Club in the Bridgestone and its
forerunner, the NEC Invitational.
Only Sam Snead has more
victories in a single tournament, with eight wins in Greensboro, N.C.
But Snead achieved that on different courses. No one has ever dominated
on a single course like this.
"Certain golf courses you just feel
comfortable," Woods said. "You see the tee shots, you see the approach
shots, and the greens seem to be easier to read than others. This golf
course is one of those for me. I think my results kind of show that."
has won the last four times he's played at Firestone, winning three in
a row before sitting out a year ago while he was recuperating from knee
surgery. He also won three in a row from 1999-2001.
His closing 5-under 65 left him at 12-under 268, four shots better than Harrington and Robert Allenby.
has won at least one WGC event in each of the last 11 years and
altogether has pocketed $21.8 million in his WGC starts alone. That's
more than Tom Watson, Fuzzy Zoeller and Raymond Floyd combined — in all
the PGA Tour wins for their careers.
The victory was his fifth in
a year that many — possibly even Woods — will consider disappointing if
he doesn't also capture the year's final major championship, the PGA
Championship this week at Hazeltine in Chaska, Minn.
"It's going to be a quick turnaround," Woods said. "I'll be out there tomorrow. I'll celebrate quickly."
taking a three-shot lead over Woods through 54 holes, Harrington said
he looked forward to squaring off mano-a-mano with Woods in the final
But that advantage had evaporated within four holes.
Playing in the same group, Harrington opened with four pars while Woods
eagled the second hole and added a birdie on the fourth. He birdied the
fifth to take the lead.
By the turn, Woods was up by two strokes
and seemed to be in command. But bogeys at the 13th and 14th holes
dropped him a shot back of Harrington, who had parred the first 10
holes before picking up his sole birdie of the round at the 11th.
one else applied any pressure. Allenby's closing 66 allowed him to
slide into a tie for second with Harrington, who had a 72 to also
finish at 8-under 272. Hunter Mahan (66) and Angel Cabrera (67) were
another shot back, but never approached the lead.
still up by a shot, both hit drives into the rough at the 630-yard,
par-5 16th hole — dubbed "The Monster" by Arnold Palmer. Woods punched
a shot into the fairway, but Harrington pulled his layup and it ended
up on the slope of a trap. From there he hit a high shot that soared
over the green and into thick rough.
Both players had been put on
the clock for slow play earlier in the round, and then had been
reminded they were falling behind on the 16th tee. Perhaps that caused
Harrington to rush. Either way, the results were disastrous.
He hit a flyer from the deep hay behind the green, the ball rolling past the pin and into the lake that fronts the green.
"I just got it a little bit too much on the club face and didn't get under it enough and it came out strong," Harrington said.
walking back down the fairway, taking a drop and hitting his sixth shot
just over the green, he chipped on and hit the putt for a triple-bogey
Meanwhile, Woods produced one of his characteristically clutch shots when most needed.
His 8 iron from 178 yards stayed in the air for a long time before coming down, then spinning back to within a foot.
"It was a superb shot. It was a phenomenal shot," Harrington said. "But I was having my own troubles at that stage."
Easy birdie. Four-shot swing. Another win at Firestone, and — ho hum — another win in a WGC event for Tiger Woods.