Monday, March 30, 2009

The Weekend That Was


Late Sunday afternoon Tiger Woods stood over a 12-foot birdie putt Sunday at Bay Hill with only enough sunlight remaining for one last shot.  It was at this moment that Woods made golf remember the magic it had been missing.

With cameras flashing in the approaching darkness, Woods delivered another rock-star moment by making a birdie on the final hole to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one shot and match the largest comeback in his PGA Tour career.

``It feels good to be back in contention, to feel the rush,'' Woods said. ``It's been awhile, but God, it felt good.''

Starting the final round five shots behind, Woods closed with a 3-under 67 for a one-shot victory over hard-luck Sean O'Hair. It was the third time he won at Bay Hill with a birdie putt on the 18th hole, and this uphill putt was the easiest of all.

Woods had not been atop the leader board since he won the U.S. Open in a 19-hole playoff last June. He had reconstructive surgery on his left knee a week later, and missed the next eight months.

With two indifferent results, there were questions whether he would be ready for the Masters in two weeks.

Not anymore.

``Certainly, this win definitely validates all the things I've been trying to do,'' Woods said.

O'Hair made only one birdie and closed with a 73, but he steadied himself along the back nine until a crucial mistake on the 16th hole, when he went at the flag with Woods in the rough. His 7-iron came up short and into the water, leading to a bogey.

``I think what happened is when the sun was going down a little bit, I guess that kind of proved to me that the ball wasn't quite going as far,'' O'Hair said.

He might be right, for Woods ran into the same problem a hole later. He posed over a 4-iron that he thought was flush, tongue hanging out of his mouth like Michael Jordan when he knew a shot was going in. This one plugged under the lip of the front bunker, and Woods made bogey to fall into a tie.

That set up the dramatic finish with only minutes of daylight remaining, thanks to a two-hour rain delay in the morning.

It was the second straight year that O'Hair had to watch Woods celebrate. They were in the final group a year ago when Woods made his big birdie putt to beat Bart Bryant. This one stung even more.

"It's just a little bit disappointing that I couldn't close it,'' O'Hair said.

Woods finished at 5-under 275 and won $1.08 million for his 66th career victory. Only once in his career has Woods failed to win a PGA Tour even in the three months leading to the Masters, but more Bay Hill magic took care of that.

"It's like Stevie was saying out there,'' Woods said of caddie Steve Williams. "This feels like we hadn't left. You just remember how to do it. It hasn't been that long for me, but you just have that feel of what to do. And it's a matter of getting it done.''


Random Youtube Video


1 comment:

Draper004 said...

Barney just got bitchslapped and almost cried. Case and point as to why he should not have won your last poll and is a bitch. Charlie Harper wouldn't have let that shit slide.

P.S. I don't follow, nor do I like golf, that is why my comment is based on the video and not your actual post.