Woods lets his clubs do talking to win 6th Bridgestone title
AKRON, Ohio -- Tiger Woods acts as if he's impervious to any verbal challenges.
He hears them, though, takes notice and uses those words for motivation.
Woods again overwhelmed Rory Sabbatini along with a stellar field, shooting a 5-under 65 on Sunday to win the Bridgestone Invitational for the sixth time.
It was the second time that Woods has won the tournament three times in a row, something no PGA Tour player has ever done before.
"Everyone knows how Rory is, and I just go out there and just let my clubs do the talking," Woods said after overcoming Sabbatini's one-shot lead to start the day.
Woods finished at 8-under 272 for an eight-stroke victory. He earned $1.35 million.
Sabbatini had called out the world's No. 1 player earlier this year at the Wachovia, saying he wanted Woods to be in the final group with him. Woods went on to shoot a 69 and win the tournament, while Sabbatini had a 74.
A few days later, Sabbatini said Woods looked "beatable as ever" -- words that certainly got Woods' attention for their rematch in the final threesome.
"I won both tournaments," Woods pointed out.
Sabbatini, who lost the lead with a bogey at the fourth hole while Woods was making birdie, faded to a 74 and a tie for second at even-par 280 with Justin Rose, who closed with a 68. Sabbatini even had a run-in with a spectator who, as Sabbatini left the ninth green, said to him, "Hey, Rory. Still think Tiger's beatable?" Sabbatini had police officers escort the fan off the course.
When it was pointed out that he might have helped to motivate Woods, Sabbatini offered no regrets.
"Well, good. I hope I inspire him," he said. "I hope I inspire him and play well enough that I can give him a good challenge."
He inspired him all right, but he didn't play well enough to challenge him. Woods birdied four of the first six holes in a light drizzle while Sabbatini was 1 over at that point. Sabbatini made a double bogey on the ninth hole before his blowup with the spectator, swelling the lead to five shots.
"I never put any pressure on Tiger, never forced the issue," he said. "Basically, he got far enough ahead he could just cruise. In a sense, I just played into his game."
No one else made a move in the U.S. Open-like conditions at Firestone Country Club, site of all six of Woods' Bridgestone wins. The greens were fast all week, and the rough was as thick as steel wool.
"It was fun to watch," said Kenny Perry, the third member of the group, who shot a 75 to finish at 4 over. "He (Tiger) didn't really hit a bad shot. He's in pretty good control of his game."
Rose, who was 4 under through eight holes before cooling off, said when he finally noticed what Woods was doing he realized it was pointless to think of winning.
"I hadn't looked at a leaderboard all through the front nine," he said. "Then I looked at the leaderboard and I saw Tiger at 7 under and I thought, 'Oh, well, we're playing for second."
Woods' 12-foot par putt on the final hole kept him bogey free. No one else could make that claim, either.
What superlative timing. Woods played well under major-championship conditions the week before the final major of the year, the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
"The whole idea was obviously to win this event but to be playing well going into next week," he said. "I feel I made some nice strides this week, and I feel very good going into next week."
His sixth win moved him into a tie for second for the most victories by a player in one PGA Tour event. He won the Bridgestone in 1999-2001 before his latest three-peat. Only Sam Snead, who won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times, has been more dominant in an event.
Woods also has won 14 of the 25 WGC events he's played, including six of the last eight.
He joked that Firestone might just be his home away from home. At the same time, he indicated that there's another tournament he'd like to win so often that all those green jackets fill up his closet.
"Eight at Augusta would be nice," he said with a laugh.
For now, he'll just have to settle for dominating Firestone -- and anyone who challenges his domination.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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