THE PUTT sent
shock waves all the way back to the tee, where Strieker and Baddeley were
watching. Strieker promptly made his worst swing of the week and pushed a
three-iron into the trees and made bogey.
No one could stay
with Woods, who looked particularly good with his driver (BIG PLAY, page G9).
Using a smoother swing and a more upright posture, he hit 80% of the fairways,
including 26 of 28 on the weekend. (If Woods can drive it like that in the
majors next year, well, that's a recipe for domination.) He also ranked third
in putting and fourth in greens hit in regulation. The BMW might've been
another Tiger rout if not for Baddeley and Strieker, who shot the two lowest
scores (264 and 266, respectively) in the tournament's history—after Tiger's
Stricks and Badds were playing behind us, I had to be more aggressive,"
Woods said. "I was four under through nine holes [on Sunday] and didn't
have the lead, so I had to keep making birdies."
When Woods walked
into the pressroom later, he came up behind Strieker and gave him a friendly
pat on the rear, then a handshake, a hug and some words of praise. Despite what
you may have heard, Woods did not spank Strieker. That he reserves for entire
tournament fields. Sixty times so far, and counting.
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