At 30, Tiger becomes youngest to 50 PGA wins

8/9/2006 - Golf Tiger Woods

GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- The ultimate goal for Tiger Woods is
to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record for victories in professional

Along the way, he also hopes to break Sam Snead's mark for PGA
Tour wins.

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 Open.

"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 ride."

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
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 professional.

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,'" Woods

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
Open victory.

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 with each step
as he approached the green. Fittingly, he made a birdie at 18.

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 shootouts.

"I enjoy playing where single digits is a good winning score,"
he said.

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 in

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

"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?"